Portsmouth - Southern Co-op store

Source: Southern Co-op store

Southern Co-op is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030

Southern Co-op has cut its carbon emissions by over a third since 2019, as part of its mission to reduce them by 50% by 2030.

The society has outlined the map of actions it has taken since last year to reach the target, and how it plans to pursue them further in 2023.

These include installing more solar panels, with 11 stores already using them, trialling thermal night blinds on refrigeration units that don’t have doors, and optimising recycling methods so soft plastics can be recycled in stores.

It is also enhancing wildlife habitats at the 93 acres across Southern Co-op’s crematoria, woodland and natural burial grounds, and establishing a Biodiversity Working Group to enhance green spaces around or near food stores, such as installing bat and nesting boxes.

The sustainanility drive comes as Southern Co-op’s estate, including retail stores, coffee shops, and funeral and burial ground locations, has increased by 42 to over 300 since 2019.

“It’s very rewarding to see that the actions we are taking to tackle climate change are making a difference,” said Southern Co-op director of sustainability and communications Gemma Lacey.

”But these actions go beyond greenhouse gas emissions as we’ve been working on enhancing areas for wildlife, keeping products in the food chain and encouraging customers to recycle soft plastics.

“We also took the decision to remove plastic ‘bags for life’ from sale, offering instead a smaller range of durable reusable bags and compostable bags. More recently these compostable bags have been removed from our self-service checkouts to deter people from taking them unnecessarily.”

Support for the local community was also significant in 2022 and 2023, with a total of £2,126,232 of contributions made via its Love Your Neighbourhood community programme.

The programme aims to make neighbourhoods greener, safer, healthier, and more inclusive, and includes a mix of financial donations, volunteering, goods donations, customer and colleague fundraising, and the carrier bag fund.