Excellent news last week that the Co-op won The Hermes Global Impact Award at the Retail Week Awards.
Championing Fairtrade products, contributing to local community, launching the Bright Future programme to help victims of Modern Slavery, recycling and the Future of Food strategy were all called out as examples of what puts Co-op ahead of most other businesses.
One of the judges said: “If it was about a single initiative or a campaign there were good entries, but in terms of multiple initiatives over time and the aggregate impact they have, the Co-op just stands out on its own. “The grocer shines a light on important issues like slavery and water – not always the ones that are popular. There’s a pure intent. Tackling modern slavery by offering a path back into employment is a great approach.”
Another judge commented: “The Co-op consistently delivers. It’s cultural across its business – the grocer doesn’t just talk about it, it lives and breathes it. The Co-op has a strong, genuine sense of duty and community. It is properly entwined with every part of the organisation and it deserves to be properly recognised for that. The Co-op is staying true to its purpose of ‘championing a better way of doing business’, which makes it the worthy winner of this award.”
Reading these plaudits is most encouraging, and having just spent this morning reviewing the 2018 Co-op Way sustainability report at the Risk and Audit Committee, I know we have plenty more positive news to report on the sustainability front. I was particularly pleased that the Committee met once again with our assurance providers, DNV, and that we considered their report at the same time as our draft financial accounts for the last year. This to me symbolises the way that we give equal weight to our ethical and financial performance, recognising that the two can and should reinforce each other in a virtuous circle of creating a stronger Co-op the more we can be seen to be contributing to stronger communities and a more sustainable world.