The Co-operative Group has set itself 74 new sustainability targets after achieving 54 of the goals set in 2008.

Of last year's 78 targets, the society said it was on track to achieve a further 16, but admitted it had dropped two and was behind schedule on eight.

Its plan to complete the roll-out of a pesticide policy for its food business was running late, as was a review of its pesticide residue testing programme. Progress on sourcing sustainable palm oil had also been delayed.

The new targets include: sustaining 20% year-on-year sales growth for Fairtrade products; completing the switch to free-range egg ingredients in all prepared own-label products; and achieving FSC certification for own-label greaseproof paper by 2010.

"Our performance demonstrates that the co-operative way of doing business is as relevant today as it was when it transformed the face of retail in the 19th century," said CEO Peter Marks.

"Customers are thinking harder about which businesses are deserving of their trust. This is especially true in a period when some previously highly respected businesses have let their customers down very badly on the ethical front."

The Grocer Cup gets Marks feeling all lyrical (17/10/09)
Bumper sales and profits for The Co-op (12/10/09)