Tag Archives: the co-operative

Banana sourcing policy holds key to feeding the world’s growing population says The Co-operative

Banana sourcing policy holds key to feeding the world’s growing population says The Co-operative.

In a move to mark this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight, The Co-operative today (Monday 27 February) announced a new banana sourcing policy, which could be the blueprint for feeding the world’s growing population.

The Co-operative, which was the first to launch Fairtrade bananas into the UK, has now switched all its bananas to 100% Fairtrade, with a unique sourcing model demonstrating unrivalled commitment to fellow co-operatives and small-scale growers, who between them will supply the bananas on a 50/50 basis.

All of The Co-operative’s bananas are now supplied by fellow co-operatives, 23 of which are made up of thousands of smallholder growers from countries including Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.

Bananas are the most popular fruit in the UK, and The Co-operative sells a staggering 230 million bananas a year – enough to circle the globe.

As part of its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, The Co-operative has pledged that if products can be labelled as Fairtrade, they will be, and by the end of 2013, the retailer hopes to be 90% towards this target.

Oxfam, which has teamed up with The Co-operative, believes that smallholder producers, many of which are co-operatives, are the key to feeding the extra two billion people that it is estimated will be on the planet by 2050, despite the gathering pace of climate change and dwindling natural resources. Together The Co-operative and Oxfam will campaign for increased international investment to help smallholder growers and co-operatives to feed the world sustainably.

At a time when the United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives, they will also help to ensure that the role co-operatives play worldwide is recognised.

Group Chief Executive Peter Marks said: “Despite the economic downturn, Fairtrade sales in the UK continue to grow, and support for Fairtrade from our own customers and members is as strong as ever.

The switch to 100% Fairtrade bananas in more than 4,000 Co-operative stores in the UK is a demonstration of this commitment to Fairtrade, co-operatives and small-scale farmers.

“However, having been instrumental in bringing Fairtrade into the mainstream, we recognise the unique role we can play as a co-operative in going beyond Fairtrade and increasing support for our producers to tackle global poverty.

“Our new partnership with Oxfam is an example of this and is particularly timely given it’s the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives.”

Via EPR Network
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7,000 Kids Join UK’s Biggest Ever School Trip

Energy, water and healthy living will be the highlight of the timetable for 7,000 school kids this week (7 – 11 November) as they join the UK’s biggest ever school trip to get a real taste of learning about sustainability outside the classroom.

At The Co-operative’s ‘Green Schools Revolution: LIVE!’ events up and down the country, all 7,000 pupils will get to visit one of eleven UK Science and Discovery Centres, including the Eden Project (Cornwall), the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (London), Thinktank (Birmingham), Museum of Science and Industry (Manchester), W5 (Belfast), Satrosphere (Aberdeen) and Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) (Wales) for a special Green Schools Revolution lesson.

During the week, each venue will bring unique experiences into the Green Schools Revolution programme, from pupils ascending 305 steps to the top of the world’s only climbable wind turbine at Ecotech in Norfolk, to exploring the importance of plants and the vital role they play in sustainable and healthy living at Kew Gardens.

Entry to the venues for all 7,000 children is fully funded by The Co-operative, with the first 100 schools to have registered also landing themselves subsidised coach travel.

According to research by The Co-operative, 92 per cent of children (aged 7-14) want to learn more about green issues, helping to save the environment and healthy living*, which are the key components of the Green Schools Revolution.

And parents are backing the initiative too with 87 per cent of them wanting their kids to learn more about green issues*. This could be down to the fact their own green knowledge is lacking – over half of parents are confused about what causes climate change*. Clearly educating their children has a much wider impact as parents are willing to learn from their kids with 95 per cent saying they have become greener as a result of their kids pester power*.

The Co-operative’s Green Schools Revolution education programme, part of its Inspiring Young People campaign, was launched in 3,000 primary and secondary schools in September by farmer and TV presenter Jimmy Doherty. It has been designed to inspire the next generation of green pioneers, with free lessons including recycling tips, trips and green activities and leisure ideas available to all UK primary and secondary schools.

Michael Fairclough, Head of Community and Campaigns, said: “We are lucky that our youngsters have such a tremendous appetite to learn more about green issues. Green Schools Revolution LIVE! will be the UK’s biggest ever school trip giving school children from all four corners of the UK the opportunity to visit their nearest Science and Discovery Centre for an inspirational school visit that will ensure the next generation are better equipped for the challenge of building a more sustainable world.”

Jean Miller, Head teacher of Hottsbridge Primary School in Waterbeck near Lockerbie, said: “This superb event will enable schools to build upon and develop important skills for our children to become creative, inventive and enterprising adults in a world where the skills and knowledge of the environment are needed across all sectors of the economy for a sustainable future.

“Green education is so important to us and this programme fits in perfectly, not only with our Science, Social Studies and Health and Wellbeing curriculum, but also with our overall school ethos and the School Improvement Plan. With the Co-operative’s strong environmental credentials behind Green Schools Revolution, we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on being part of this exciting programme.”

To find out more about Green Schools Revolution visit www.greenschools.coop. *Opinion Matters interviewed 1,027 children aged between 7 and 14 and 1,002 parents of children aged 7 – 14 in August 2011.

Via EPR Network
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The Co-operative Offers A Lifeline To Endangered And Protected Species

Endangered and protected species are being offered a lifeline by Britain’s largest farmer, The Co-operative Group.

The Group has set up a team of “Habitat Heroes” on six of its farms across the country, to help preserve some of the UK’s most iconic species, including water voles, otters, bats and red squirrels.

By launching the national wildlife initiative, The Group’s farming business joins leading environmental campaigners who are taking direct action to help preserve species under threat, in response to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and continuing concerns over a global decline in biodiversity.

The Habitat Heroes project aims to identify where The Co-operative Farms can make investments and adaptations on the six farms to improve the habitats, feeding and breeding opportunities for endangered or protected species, helping to safeguard them for the future.

The Co-operative Group is funding the project, whilst its farming business has harnessed the support of farm managers, local environmental groups and volunteers to carry out the vital environmental work to improve and sustain the habitats of species that are indigenous to the farms.

Christine Tacon, Managing Director of The Co-operative Farms, said: “As Britain’s largest farmer we feel we have a responsibility to lead the way environmentally. The Habitat Heroes project gives us the chance to look at ways we can really make our land work for local wildlife.”

She added: “The beauty of this scheme is that we can keep on re-visiting and revising it. As part of the scheme, we will conduct regular surveys into the wildlife on our land to find out what is working and where we are seeing positive results, to help guide the environmental work we commit to in the future.”

The six farms taking part in the Habitat Heroes project are Goole in Yorkshire, Coldham in Cambridgeshire, Tillington in Herefordshire, Blairgowrie in Perthshire, Down Ampney in Gloucestershire and Stoughton in Leicestershire. Several of the sites have webcams to study the targeted species.

Via EPR Network
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The Co-operative Launches Most Radical Corporate Ethical Plan and Encourages Customers to Join the Revolution

Group encourages customers to Join the Revolution as it announces the most radical sustainability programme in UK corporate history that will spearhead its membership drive and help build a more sustainable economy.

The Co-operative Group today (18 February) set a new benchmark for corporate sustainability in the UK, which will support its aim to have 20 million members during this decade and boost the move to a more environmentally sound and just UK economy.

Among the groundbreaking pledges in The Co-operative’s new Ethical Operating Plan are:
+ the toughest operational carbon reduction targets of any major business, and the deployment of £1billion of green energy finance by 2013
+ the most radical Fairtrade conversion programme ever undertaken
+ the world’s first ethically screened general insurance products
+ a three-fold increase in membership from 6 million to 20 million by 2020
+ significantly enhanced funding for co-operative enterprises and schools

After enjoying a strong economic renaissance, which has seen it double revenues, double profits and double membership over the past three years, The Co-operative is launching a new three year rolling programme, which encompasses all its businesses and sets out a joined up set of goals and targets to drive its ethical and co-operative aspirations.

In raising the bar across key areas including the environment, ethical finance, global poverty, animal welfare, social fairness, health and community enterprise, The Co-operative will demonstrate that the quiet revolution that began in Rochdale in 1844 is still as relevant as ever.

Furthermore, in early March, The Co-operative will launch a radical new advertising campaign that will showcase the sheer breadth and impact of its community and co-operative initiatives and will urge customers to the join The Co-operative revolution.

Group Chief Executive Peter Marks said: “Our ambition is to build a better society and this Plan will stimulate and reinforce the unique benefit of the consumer co-operative model.

“At a time when UK society is picking up the pieces from a recession exacerbated by corporate greed and speculation, we are seeking to show that there is another way. The plc model is not the only game in town. It is possible for business to embrace the efficiencies of the market economy and also the need for robust legislation to ensure that progress is sustainable and just.

“Taken together, we believe the measures and pledges set out in our Ethical Plan raise the bar on corporate sustainability. Over the next 10 years working with our customers, members, suppliers, staff and communities we believe we really can make Britain even better.

Leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt said: “By launching this Ethical Plan, the Co-operative is taking corporate sustainability into a new era. Other businesses will now be seeking to benchmark themselves against this Plan”.

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation said: “Always a pioneer of Fairtrade, The Co-operative’s commitment to ensuring that virtually all primary commodities that can be Fairtrade will be Fairtrade sets the bar anew for the corporate world.

Via EPR Network
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Buy Wine, Help Save The Bees!

Banrock Station, the eco-conscious wine brand, has launched a range of three new wines available exclusively at The Co-operative from 18th August 2010. Money from the sale of every bottle of these wines will go to help preserve the British bee population as part of The Co-operative’s Plan Bee campaign to help save the Bees in the UK.

Five pence from every bottle sold goes towards the fundraising campaign with a target of raising £45,000. This money will fund Plan Bee projects in the UK. Launched in 2009, The Co-operative’s Plan Bee campaign aims to raise awareness of honeybee decline, fund new scientific research, and encourage people to help bees in their own gardens.

For over a decade Banrock Station has brought the pleasure of fine Australian wine and the message of conservation to the world. The winery uses the conservation expertise acquired from restoring the natural land of its own vineyards to select which projects to support. To date, Banrock Station has contributed £2.3million to 95 environmental projects around the world.

Banrock Station supports projects that share its philosophy of enhancing the natural environment. The humble honeybee pollinates a third of the food that we eat, meaning that we rely on them for apples, pears, raspberries, carrots and onions, among other everyday items. A fifth of our bee population died last winter alone and if it continues, the cost of food could increase significantly.

Clare Griffiths, Banrock Station, said: “We are pleased to be supporting The Co-operative’s Plan Bee campaign as the latest in a long line of important international conservation projects. The bee may be small but it does a big job for all of us. This initiative is vital to help restore the UK’s bee population to ensure that many of the foods that we take for granted don’t start to disappear.”

Via EPR Network
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The Co-operative Group Presents ‘The Tarnished Earth Street Gallery’

Tarnished Earth, a dramatic street gallery of photographs telling the story of one of the world’s biggest ecological disasters is open FREE to anyone walking along the morelondon site on London’s Southbank (between London Bridge and Tower Bridge) for four weeks from 14th September.

The FREE outdoor photo exhibition will then tour the country, making an impact in busy public areas in cities across the UK by Spring 2011.

The striking images will show how Canada’s magnificent Boreal Forest is being destroyed and polluted by the rush to extract oil from the tar sands just below the surface.

Tarnished Earth, which is being staged by The Co-operative, in conjunction with WWF-UK and Greenpeace, will contrast the destruction caused by the oil extraction with the area’s pristine wilderness and the traditional way of life of the indigenous First Nation Cree.

The street gallery is the latest chapter in The Co-operative’s Toxic Fuels campaign, which aims to stop tar sands expansion. The greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands oil is far greater than those of conventional oil, and its exploitation alone would be sufficient to take us to the brink of runaway climate change.

The story of the Albertan tar sands developments and the devastating impact they are having on the environment and local First Nation communities is told in the film Dirty Oil, which was also supported by The Co-operative. The film is available to buy on DVD from 13th September.

Via EPR Network
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Caribou Extinction Is The Latest Environmental Threat To Oil Industry

The possible extinction of the woodland caribou in Alberta, Canada is the latest environmental disaster threatening to disrupt the oil industry, according to a new report issued today (15/7/10) by The Co-operative.

Woodland caribou, once common in the boreal forest of Alberta, are now threatened with extinction in the region by rapidly expanding developments extracting oil from the tar sands. Under Canadian law the government has a duty to protect the habitat of woodland caribou; however, to date, next to no action has been taken. In response Cree indigenous communities living in the area are now calling for an immediate moratorium with immediate effect, on all new industrial developments in those areas within caribou habitat.

This would have major consequences for oil industry expansion plans for the tar sands, including BP’s recently announced Kirby tar sands project which would lie within critical habitat.

As part of its Toxic Fuels Campaign as well as other environmental campaigns such as Climate Change Facts, The Co-operative is working with the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, a small indigenous community in northeast Alberta whose traditional territories cover 30 per cent of all existing Albertan tar sands operations.

An expert study by Dr Stan Boutin of the University of Alberta and funded by The Co-operative, looked at the two caribou herds within the Beaver Lake Cree’s traditional territories, an area the size of Switzerland. It found that only 175 – 275 caribou remain, down 10 fold on historic numbers, and that these herds are facing extinction by 2025 without immediate habitat protection.

Via EPR Network
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The Co-Operative To Create An Army Of Urban Beekeepers

An army of new urban beekeepers supported by The Co-operative could help to reverse the worrying decline in the British honeybee population.

The Co-Operative To Create An Army Of Urban Beekeepers

As part of its on-going Plan Bee campaign, The Co-operative has today (1 March) announced a further £225,000 to fund bee research, as well as a step up in its support of the establishment of hives in city gardens and allotments across the UK.

More and more city dwellers are taking up beekeeping since the plight of the British honeybee population, which experts believe halved in England between 1985 and 2005, was publicised. Last year, The Co-operative piloted an urban apiary and beekeeping courses in Manchester parkland using a revolutionary lightweight plastic beehive. Now it is planning to roll out the idea to other inner city areas in London, Manchester and Inverness.

In addition to the new hives this will lead to, The Co-operative Farms also has 600 hives on its farmland.

Launched in January 2009, the £475,000 Plan Bee campaign aims to raise awareness of honeybee decline, fund research, and encourage people to help save the bees and plant bee-friendly wildflowers.

To date the research programme has sponsored investigations into the mapping of native British black honeybees and the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides in the UK. The initial findings of which are expected in the summer of 2010.

Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals at The Co-operative, said: ”Nature’s number one pollinating machine appears to be breaking down and no one knows for sure why. Urban beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular and could be a vital tool in the reverse of honeybee decline in the UK.

“Through our urban beekeeper projects we want to show people that you don’t have to have acres of land to take up beekeeping.”

As well as the Plan Bee campaign to save the bees the Co-operative Group is involved in a number of important causes that are well worthy of recognition such as Marine reserves and the opposition to extracting oil from unconventional sources such as tar sands.

Via EPR Network
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New Film Shows The Folly Of £250 Billion Of Tar Sands Investments

The massive resources being poured into environmentally damaging tar sands could kick start ambitious plans to supply Europe with solar energy f r o m North Africa or enable the world to hit half of the Millennium Development Goals in the 50 least developed countries, including averting four million child deaths annually and providing universal primary education.

It is literally a matter of life and death that these enormous oil titans are re-steered to much more sustainable paths

These are the findings of a thought-provoking report by The Co-operative and WWF-UK, which puts into perspective the estimated £250 billion ($379 billion) the big oil companies are planning to invest in tar sands between now and 2025.

The report coincides today (15 March) with the UK premiere of Dirty Oil, a hard-hitting documentary film that outlines the impact tar sands extraction is having on the environment and the health of first nation Indians. The film, which is being distributed with the help of The Co-operative, will be premiered at 25 cinemas across the UK.

Narrated by Canadian actress and environmentalist Neve Campbell, the beautifully photographed documentary f r o m the Academy Award Nominated director Leslie Iwerks goes behind-the-scenes and tells the tar sands story through the eyes of scientists, industry officials, politicians, doctors, environmentalists and indigenous Cree Indians.

The ‘Opportunity Cost of the Tar Sands’ Report (PDF 562 KB), written by The Co-operative and WWF-UK as part of their Dirty Oil Campaign, shows how the money invested in tar sands would halve the proportion of people in the world living without access to clean water and sanitation, provide universal primary education, and hit the targets to avert the deaths of 4 million children, 300,000 mothers, and almost half a million victims of HIV and TB.

The extraction and production of oil f r o m the tar sands emits on average three times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production and as a result has attracted considerable criticism f r o m environmentalists and investors alike.

The report finds the money which oil companies want to pump into tar sands would also cover the cost of the Desertec Industrial Initiative which would link North African solar plants into a supergrid and supply 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity by 2050, or fund a Europe wide shift to electric vehicles.

The report highlights Shell and BP’s involvement in tar sands investments. BP is set to invest £6.63 billion ($10 billion) in its Sunrise tar sands project and also plans to spend another £1.62 billion ($2.5 billion) converting a refinery in Toledo, Ohio, to process the synthetic crude oil produced f r o m the tar sands. Meanwhile Shell is spending £8.7 billion ($14 billion) to expand the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (60 per cent owned by Shell) to raise its capacity to 255,000 barrels per day.

Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals at The Co-operative, said: “The sums of money being invested in tar sands developments are enormous and difficult for the average person to grasp. This report puts things into perspective and demonstrates not only the scale of the problem, which could take us close to the brink of runaway climate change, but also the opportunity being lost.

“It is literally a matter of life and death that these enormous oil titans are re-steered to much more sustainable paths.”

Colin Butfield, WWF-UK’s head of campaigns, said: “The world is currently heading for a real climate change crisis which can only be headed off by a real drive for clean energy. But if Canada extracts its probable reserves of 315 billion barrels of oil f r o m tar sands, this will undermine the drive for clean energy – and almost single-handedly commit the world to dangerous levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This would contribute to dangerous climate change, destroying ecosystems and habitats around the world. We cannot afford this to happen.

“This report has thrown up some quite staggering statistics in terms of how that money could be spent trying to save the planet rather than destroy it. The $379bn question is will the oil companies listen? For the planet’s sake, they have to. After all, if this kind of investment in tar sands continues, it’s not just a grave threat to the boreal forests, wildlife and communities in Canada.”

Via EPR Network
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