We continue to promote social and financial inclusion and have a physical presence in every UK postal area. The Co‑operative’s community support is among the most generous in the UK, and our investment in UK communities totalled £18.9m in 2011. Our 2011 Charity of the Year partnership with Mencap and ENABLE Scotland, raised a record £7m to improve the lives of young people with learning disabilities. Furthermore, in 2011, through our Inspiring Young People programme we launched Green Schools Revolution, a new sustainability education programme with over 4,200 schools having registered to take part by mid-2012.
We continue to lead the way in our commitment to international development and human rights. The Co‑operative Food is the leading UK supermarket for Fairtrade availability, and in 2011 we launched a partnership with CARE International UK to support lendwithcare.org – an innovative scheme to allow people in the UK to lend money directly to entrepreneurs in the developing world. Our leading stance on responsible finance was recognised with The Co-operative Bank named the most sustainable bank in Europe, for the third year running in 2012.
We are committed to playing our part to improve the health of the nation by making it easier for customers and colleagues to make healthier food and lifestyle choices. We also continue to make good progress in ensuring high animal welfare standards across our own-brand range, extending our Elmwood higher welfare standard to include pork in 2011.
Our Ethical Plan commitments include:
- Our Inspiring Young People programme will benefit one million people by 2014;
- If a primary commodity from the developing world can be Fairtrade, it will be Fairtrade by 2013;
- Through our partnership with CARE International UK we aim to facilitate 30,000 loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world by the end of 2012;
- Continue to pursue higher welfare standards across our meat and fish, converting our own‑brand salmon to Freedom Food standards in 2012; and
- Within our £1bn commitment to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy, we will dedicate £100m to small-scale community renewable opportunities and support projects that provide demonstrable reductions in fuel poverty.
Read more about our Ethical Plan.