The Group receives prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development

23 April 2007

The Group received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development category. No other major retailer has ever won this particular Queen’s Award, which enables the business to use the Award emblem for a period of five years.

The official announcement from Buckingham Palace states: “The Co-operative Group receives the Award for its outstanding advance in embedding sustainability across its Group operations.

“The business has implemented an impressive range of initiatives across all aspects of its activities, reflecting a commendable corporate sustainability ethos. Key amongst these initiatives is its suite of impressive ethical investments and its laudable leadership on Fairtrade issues.

“Innovative schemes to reduce its transport impacts, coupled with pioneering research to reduce the impact of its own-brand packaging, and investment in projects to reduce energy consumption, also testify to the ambitious sustainability aims of The Group.

“The Group is also to be praised for its strong Co-operative Community Investment Foundation that provides direct financial support, as well as volunteer support, to a number of community organisations, and for its social goals agenda.”

Group Chief Executive Martin Beaumont said: “I am absolutely delighted that The Group has been recognised by the Queen in this way for all the important work that we are doing in the area of sustainable development and Fairtrade.

“This is something we should all be very proud of and it is a great honour to receive this award on behalf of us all."

The Co-op was the first UK supermarket to embrace Fairtrade when it began stocking Cafédirect in 1992, and with more than 3,000 Co‑op stores nationwide, it now sells Fairtrade products in more outlets than any other retailer.          

Total sales of Fairtrade products through Co-op stores for 2006 exceeded £40m − a 25% share of the Fairtrade grocery market for last year. The Co‑op also enjoyed record sales during this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight (26 February − 11 March), reflecting the success of extending the sale of Fairtrade bananas to all Co-op stores for the first time, and the introduction of the UK’s first supermarket Fairtrade cotton Bag for Life.

The Co-operative Bank received a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2002 − the year they were inaugurated.