Co-op Group launches new net zero action plan as Co-op Funeralcare celebrates decade of carbon neutrality

05 May 2021

• UK’s largest funeral provider marks sustainability milestone as it gets ready to work towards Co-op Group’s ambitious new 2040 net zero target

• Co-op Funeralcare has already invested £4m in fleet of hybrid ceremonial vehicles

• All care centres launching in 2021 and beyond will include EV charging points

• Variety of eco-funerals, green burials and biodegradable coffins available to those who want a sustainable send off

Co-op Funeralcare is marking ten years of carbon neutrality across its operations, in the same week as Co-op Group unveils an ambitious new climate change action plan which will see it achieve net zero status by 2040 – ten years ahead of the Government’s own ambition.

The plan sets out targets, endorsed by the Science-based Targets Initiative, to cap global temperature increases and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which came into force in 2016 and created a global pact of almost 200 countries to tackle climate change

Whilst the UK’s largest provider of funerals has been carbon neutral since 2011 – and all of its electricity comes from renewable sources including from Co-op Power’s network of UK wind farms – it will now play a central role in delivering the Group’s pledge.

Last year, Co-op Funeralcare, which has 800 funeral homes across the UK, invested £4m in a new fleet of hybrid ceremonial vehicles. Furthermore, electric vehicle charging points are set to be a standard feature across all new care centres that open in 2021 and beyond.

The provider is also committed to helping take care of the world’s forests by using FSC certified and other controlled materials in the production of coffins.

In addition, it offers a range of green or eco burials, which use biodegradable coffins including those made from cardboard, bamboo or banana leaves.

Sam Tyrer, Managing Director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: “When it comes to reversing the impending climate catastrophe, we are at a crucial tipping point that global businesses and world leaders cannot ignore.

“Whilst Co-op Funeralcare has been carbon neutral across its operations for the last decade, we know there is so much more to be done not just to offset, but to drive down carbon emissions. In the past twelve months alone we have invested heavily in hybrid ceremonial vehicles whilst also looking at how electric vehicles can be added to our fleet.

“We also know that the way people choose to say goodbye is changing which is reflected in our eco-funeral offering and we aim to lead the way in ensuring that people can have a final farewell that does not adversely impact the environment. We are pleased to be working as one Co-op, to help tackle what is surely the biggest challenge of our generation.”

Co-op’s Ten-Point Climate Plan:

  1. Make long-term changes to how we do business We will be a net zero business by 2040, for both our operations and for our products.

  2. Set clear short-term milestones We will reduce the impact of our operations by 50% and our products by 11%, both by 2025, in line with climate science.

  3. Rapidly reduce carbon from our operations and products We will take clear, practical steps to reduce carbon from running our business and the products we sell, reporting progress publicly.

  4. Compensate for our climate impact We will take responsibility for our ongoing emissions - our operations will be carbon neutral from 2021 and our own brand products by 2025.

  5. Make lower carbon choices easier for customers We’ll support our customers and members to move to lower carbon lifestyles, starting by price matching between our Co-op own-brand plant-based and meat or dairy-based equivalent.

  6. Direct finance towards reducing carbon We will align our finance, including carbon offsets and pension funds, to support lower carbon investments.

  7. Help suppliers on the climate change front line We’ll support farmers, producers and communities to transition fairly to a low carbon future.

  8. Campaign for climate action We will be advocating with Government to press for the necessary systemic change, including a call for greater climate impact disclosure and support for the most vulnerable.

  9. Co-operate for change at scale We will actively work together across our sectors, sharing our plans and solutions, seeking to align rather than compete.

  10. Make our climate plan a priority Underpinning these goals, we are linking the pay of our Food CEO to achieving our carbon reduction targets. -ends-