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So how are we doing so far this year?
Well if you’re reading this and you’re a member of our Co-op then it’s good news. Between the start of January and the end of June, we gave back £29m through our 5% member reward and a further £6m to 4,000 local causes through our 1% community reward.
This is your Co-op doing what any good Co-op should – creating ‘value’ for its members.
All of our businesses are reporting good performance and that’s what creates the value we can share with you.
You own us
When you hear other big businesses reporting their profits you probably think it doesn’t have much to do with you. And you’d be right. After all, it’s only their shareholders that are gaining anything. But that’s not how the Co-op works because that’s not how we’re owned. And that’s the big difference.
We’ve been able to give back £35m, so far this year, because you shop in our food stores, you buy our electrical products, you insure your car and home with us, and you use our funeral, life planning and legal services. Thank you for being such good customers!
Value with values
But there’s more to creating value for you as a Co-op member than direct financial rewards. The way we run our business is fundamental to who we are and it’s import to report back to you on this as well.
So, we’re backing British farmers by selling only British fresh meat all year round. The same goes for the meat in all of our Co-op sandwiches and pies.
We’ve strengthened our commitment to our Fairtrade partners with our decision to use only Fairtrade sourced cocoa in own brand products.
We’re helping young drivers to be safe and save money through our Co-op Young Drivers insurance.
We’ve increased the age for providing free child funerals from 16 to 18.
We’ve hired 333 apprentices in the first half of 2017. We’ll have recruited 1,000 apprentices in total by the end of the year.
Sixty new member pioneers have been recruited to dedicated roles to better connect our Co-op with local communities. We’ll have 200 in place by the end of the year.
We’ve added two more schools to our Co-op Academies Trust (now ten in total) raising standards in the classroom and restoring local pride.
Your campaigning Co-op
In the spring we renewed our commitment to be a campaigning Co-op taking us back to our boldest traditions.
We’re taking a lead on reducing Modern Slavery through our Bright Future programme giving training and paid work to the victims of slavery in the UK.
We’re tackling loneliness and isolation in partnership with British Red Cross by recruiting Community Connectors across the UK with the money you helped to raise. And our Co-op Foundation is helping young people to become more involved in this work too.
We’re taking action at an international level too as the first retailer in the world to sign up to the Global Investment Fund for Water. 1p from each litre of branded bottled water we sell now goes to eliminating water poverty. That’s on top of the existing water projects we fund through our Co-op bottled water.
As you can see, we are a business that cares about the things that matter to you.
A better way
With all we’re doing to demonstrate our Co-op difference, it’s not surprising that we’ve attracted half a million new members since the start of the year and more than a million since last September when we re-launched our new Co-op Membership scheme. There’s a growing understanding that the Co-op is a better way of doing business and through our actions we’re proving it.
Of course, there’s always more work to do. To keep creating that member value we have respond to changing customer needs and ever more challenging markets. So we’ll continue to improve and innovate and look for new ways to support our members.
Finally, let me thank you, our members, for making us what we are and recognising that by choosing the Co-op good things can happen. Please tell your friends and family too. We want the whole nation to benefit from being part of the Co-op.
Co-op Group CEO