A huge ‘thank you’ to all the many members who joined in to share their thoughts about how we approach the array of ethical issues that we must consider as a responsible business. Your ideas are already informing the major review of our policies that is now underway.
The knowledge and passion of our members on issues as diverse as modern slavery and healthy eating shone through this consultation. From the comments left on blogs and surveys and made in person at our policy meet-ups, I’m clear just how deeply members feel about ethical issues and the high expectations you have of your Co-op to respond to them.
Here’s just a glimpse of some of the things I took away from members:
- All of the policy ideas that we put on the table – covering ethical trade and human rights, the environment, health and well-being and food and farming – have strong support
- But certain issues, such as ethical trading and human rights, modern slavery and animal welfare consistently attracted the highest levels of support
- There were calls for us to do some things differently – shouting more about what we do, pushing for even greater transparency in product labelling, focusing on our own-brand lines where we set the agenda and many more supportive ideas for how we could do what we do better
- “Co-op shouldn’t just care. They should be pioneers”
One thing that stood out for me in particular was just how many members saw the interconnectedness of different policy areas. This might be the positive links between support for British farming, with issues of higher animal welfare, but equally some perceived tensions between issues like Fairtrade and food miles.
With such strong endorsements of all the different policy areas we are working on, the consultation did not provide the clear prioritisation of issues from which we can easily create working priorities for The Co-op Way Committee. Instead, the Committee has been given the confidence that all of these issues are important to members, with a few attracting almost universal support.
The Committee has now commissioned me and my team to develop our policies further so that our unique Co-op difference is ever more evident and identify what issues we should campaign for change on.
Once again the views of our members will be important and we’ll be looking to meet up with you in the late summer and early Autumn in further face-to-face meetings, digitally through blogs and whatever other means we can to hear from you!
Group Policy and Campaigns Director