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From making it easier to recycle our packaging to reducing food waste, we’re always working to minimise the impact we have on the environment, Ethics, Sustainability & Policy Officer Jess Collins explains
From our farmers and producers to the food we rely on, climate change is having a real impact on our global food system. At Co-op, we view it as our responsibility to not only limit our contribution to climate change as much as we can, but to do our very best to actively look after our planet. It’s going to be a long journey, but there are a number of targets we’ve actioned this year that we’re really proud of. So, here are five good things we’ve achieved in 2021 – and may there be many more to come!
There are lots of small things we can all do to help the planet, so keep following our channels for ideas on how you can make a difference.
1. We set out our 10-point plan to tackle climate change
Over the years, our members have asked us to formally respond to the climate emergency through policy change. This year we’ve been able to set out our 10-point plan for how we promise to tackle climate change and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. As well as changing the way we do business, we want to make it easier for our customers to make lower-carbon choices. Read more about the 10-point plan.
2. All Co-op packaging is recyclable thanks to our soft plastic recycling units in-store
We’re pretty excited about the launch of our new recycling units in-store. They’re designed for the soft plastics you normally can’t recycle at home – things like bread bags and crisp packets. This means that between your recycling bins at home and our recycling units in-store, all Co-op packaging is now recyclable!
3. We cut the price of our vegan GRO range to make the plant-based choice more affordable
We don’t think people should be priced out of eating plant-based. So this year we cut the price of our vegan GRO range to match its meat and dairy counterparts. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or just looking to introduce more plant-based foods into your diet, we want to make it easier for you to do that. Take a look at our full GRO range and read more about the price reduction here.
4. We removed bags for life from all our stores (and replaced them with compostable bags instead)
We all know that plastic bags are damaging to the planet, so we decided to make a serious change to our bag policy – we’ve removed bags for life from all stores and replaced them with certified compostable bags instead. Customers are now able to purchase a low-cost, lower-impact alternative bag that’s better for the planet and offers a second use too! Simply use it to line your food waste caddy or as a home compost liner.
5. We launched 100 new community fridges across the UK to tackle food waste
Reducing food waste is one of our top priorities. That’s why we’ve partnered with award-winning charity Hubbub, which coordinates the world’s largest community fridge network, with over 150 incredible fridge hubs running across the UK. These fridges are special. Not only do they provide a place where local residents can share and access surplus food donated by local food businesses (reducing tonnes of food waste every year), many of the fridges also provide budgeting and healthy cooking advice, wellbeing and family support, and digital inclusion training – empowering people to develop knowledge and skills that will enrich their lives.
This year, we’re adding 100 more fridges to the network, saving an expected 6.8 million meals a year from going to waste. And we’re just getting started!
Ethics, Sustainability & Policy Officer