The new figure means that the retailer has hit its emissions reduction target three years early. Co-op’s chief executive Steve Murrells said that an ambitious new goal would be set to address the remaining sources of GHG emissions.

“In future we want to be more ambitious about setting challenging targets,” he said. “I believe that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a helpful framework for co-operation amongst businesses, NGOs, governments and individuals.

“Through the SDGs we’re exploring ways in which we can set better and longer-term ambitions and then measure the difference we make to communities.”

The Co-op Way

Co-op has delved into renewable energy sources in recent years. In fact, 100% of Co-op’s electricity was from UK wind farms in 2017.

Other 2017 highlights include the Co-op becoming the first UK retailer to sell and use only Fairtrade cocoa in own-brand products. Co-op has with the Fairtrade Foundation to create a new sourcing model, which has seen more than 200 Co-op products switch to 100% Fairtrade cocoa.

Meanwhile, 71% of product packaging is now easy to recycle. The co-op has pledged to make all of its own-brand packaging recyclable, with an interim goal of 80% recyclability set for 2020, and has backed the introduction of a nationwide bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) to help reduce plastic pollution.

Earlier this year, Co-op became the first retailer to develop a fully-biodegradable paper tea bag – removing all uses of polypropylene plastic as a result. Speaking with edie recently, the Co-op’s environment manager Iain Ferguson said that a potential solution to reducing single-use plastic production  is narrowing the range of polymers that brands and retailers use.

Iain Ferguson at edie Live 2018

Co-op’s environment manager Iain Ferguson will appear on the Resource Efficiency theatre at edie Live to discuss the need for innovation and collaboration to catalyse change across the packaging supply chain to drive sustainability.

Running between 22 – 23 May 2018, edie Live plans to show delegates how they can achieve their Mission Possible. Through the lens of energy, resources, the built environment, mobility and business leadership an array of expert speakers will be on hand to inspire delegates to achieve a sustainable future. For more information click here.

George Ogleby

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