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.