The Co-operative group launch radical co-op plan
The Co-operative Group has launched a radical plan to boost membership to 20 million in ten years, inject cash into community enterprise and build a more sustainable economy.
The ambitious strategy includes pledges to deploy £1bn green energy finance, invest £11m into community enterprise and £20m into an international loan development fund, create 200 co-op schools and launch a £30m apprenticeship academy. Additionally, the group will roll out a fair trade programme in the next three years.
The group says its ‘ethical operating plan’ is the most radical sustainability programme in the UK’s corporate history and claims it will set a new benchmark for corporate sustainability. The plan includes 47 targets, including these strongly-worded pledges:
- the toughest operational carbon reduction targets of any major business, and the deployment of £1bn of green energy finance by 2013, up from £400m
- the most radical fair trade conversion programme ever undertaken, which will see 90 per cent of all products sourced from developing countries to be fair trade
- the world’s first ethically screened general insurance products, amounting to two million policies
- a three-fold increase in membership from six million to 20 million by 2020, helped by opening up to under 16s if legally possible
- significantly enhanced funding for co-operative enterprises and schools.
The plan follows what the Co-operative Group calls a ‘a strong economic renaissance’, which has seen it double revenues, profits and membership in the past three years. The plan aims to unite all co-operative businesses with a set of goals and targets to ‘drive its ethical and co-operative aspirations’.
The strategy will be backed up by a new advertising campaign, which launches early next month and urges ‘customers to join the co-operative revolution’.
Group CEO Peter Marks said the plan would stimulate and reinforce the unique benefit of the consumer co-operative model.
‘At a time when UK society is picking up the pieces from a recession exacerbated by corporate greed and speculation, we are seeking to show that there is another way,’ he said. ‘The plc model is not the only game in town. It is possible for business to embrace the efficiencies of the market economy and also the need for robust legislation to ensure that progress is sustainable and just.
‘Taken together, we believe the measures and pledges set out in our ethical plan raise the bar on corporate sustainability. Over the next ten years working with our customers, members, suppliers, staff and communities we believe we really can make Britain even better.’