The Co-operative Group is encouraging other retailers to copy its environmental initiatives as part of an advertising campaign. In two ads launched this week, the society, which was voted Green Retailer of the Year at The Grocer Gold Awards in June, brags that its green policies are inspiring other retailers.

“The degradable plastic carrier bag and outlets powered by renewable energy are just two of The Co-operative’s initiatives being copied up and down the high street,” the ad states. “It’s just as well we see imitation as the greatest form of flattery.”

A second ad highlights the society’s Green Energy for Schools scheme, which it claims is the UK’s largest renewable energy education programme. It is not the first time the society has challenged rival retailers. In September last year, CEO Peter Marks accused its rivals of “lazy thinking” on environmental issues.