The Co-op has announced new goals to reduce its direct emissions by 50% and product-related emissions by 11%, after reaching a previous carbon goal three years ahead of schedule.
Outlined in the company’s latest sustainability report, the goals relate to reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2025 against a 2016 baseline and product-related emissions by 11% within the same parameters.
The retailer had recorded a 33% reduction in direct emissions since 2016 and by 54% since 2006, meaning its surpassed a previous 50% reduction target three years early in 2017.
“We are now going even further and are aiming to reduce both our direct and indirect emissions, in line with the reductions needed to keep global warming to below 2°C, a threshold for some of the most dangerous impacts of climate change,” the report states.
“We’ll halve our direct emissions again by 2025, through a multi-million-pound investment in natural refrigeration and associated technologies, as well as low-energy LED lighting. At the same time, we’ll reduce our product-related emissions by 11%, from field through to fork through to waste.”
The company already sources 100% of its electricity from renewables and offsets 10% of the carbon emissions from its customers’ car or home energy use during the first year of any policy agreement. In fact, more than 1.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions have been offset for Co-op Insurance customers since 2006.
The report also provides an update on the company’s resource efficiency efforts. Targets are in place to reduce food waste generated in stores and depots by 50% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline and to make 100% of its packaging by product line “easy to recycle” by 2023 – with an intermediate target of 80% by 2020.
For food waste, a 29% reduction has been achieved in three years and in 2018 Co-op produced 19,162 tonnes of food waste – down from 23,689 tonnes in 2017.
Overall waste levels have also fallen by 41% since 2006, including a 6% decline last year. Co-op cites “significant” food waste reductions as a primary driver, although this was offset slightly by an increase in recycled paper as a result of GDPR compliance.
In total, 97% of operational waste was reused, recycled or recovered, a 1% increase on last year’s results.
The Co-op became the first retailer to roll out a fully biodegradable range of tea bags across its own brand products, phasing out those which contain plastic. It has recently switched all of its own-brand water bottles to ones containing 50% recycled PET. The Co-op is also swapping around 60 million plastic carrier bags with compostable alternatives that can be used as food waste caddy liners.
The sustainability report notes that 72% of Co-op product packaging is now classed as “easy to recycle”, a 1% increase on 2017 levels.