Martin Beaumont,chief executive, said this week that CSR was fundamental to the long-term success of the society. “Our business strategy is based on the idea of a co-operative difference, which sets us apart from other providers in the sectors in which we operate.”
The group’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2004 showed that community investment was up 7.3% to £7.3m, which represents 3.2% of pre-tax profit.
Over the year, it has introduced a sustainable purchasing process to screen suppliers against social, ethical and environmental criteria, it has bought a fleet of 60 lorries that run on natural gas and buys 100% of its centrally procured energy from green sources.
As part of its responsible retailing programme, the co-op has now banned 22 food colours, as well as the additive monosodium glutamate from its own label range.