The Co-operative Group has been named Responsible Retailer of the Year for the third year running in the prestigious Oracle Retail Week Awards, which recognise the very best in UK retailing.
The judges described the Group as an outstanding business, whose breadth of initiatives and depth of commitment to being a responsible business meant The Co-operative stood out from the rest of the shortlist, made up of Asda, B & Q, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. One judge said The Co-operative is “streets ahead of anyone else in this field”.
Highlights of Co-operative activity which impressed the judges in 2009 included the launch of Plan Bee to reverse the decline of the British bee population and save the bees, work towards the creation of new marine reserves to help protect UK fish stocks, and working with WWF to focus on the environmental and social impact of tar sands extraction as part of its toxic fuels campaign against Dirty Oil.
Ongoing initiatives also showed real progress according to the judges – carrier bag use is down 60 per cent at Co-operative Food stores and its higher-welfare Elmwood standard has been extended to all Co-operative fresh and frozen chicken. The Group’s ongoing and growing commitment to Fairtrade was also recognised.
Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group, said: “These awards recognise the very best in UK retailing, not just in the grocery sector, so it is a tremendous achievement to win at this event, but to win this particular accolade three years in succession is incredible.
“However, our commitment to Responsible Retailing in its widest sense has been unswerving, even in tough economic times, and this award recognises the hard work and commitment of colleagues across the Group in delivering our Co-operative difference and campaigning for what we believe in, supported by our members and customers.”