The Co-op has signed up to an EU code of conduct which addresses sustainability within supply chains.
The Central-England Co-op has joined the EU’s Code of Conduct on Responsible Business and Marketing Practices initiative, committing them to reducing their carbon footprint by 90% by 2030.
The commitments mean the Co-op will be required to reduce its food waste by 50% by 2025.
The initiative commits those signed up to the code to environmental, health and social sustainability of food systems, while ensuring economic sustainability of the European food value chain.
Luke Olly, energy and environment lead at the Co-op, said: “We are delighted to have signed up to the aspirational objectives of the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Business and Marketing Practices and are pleased to showcase our commitment by putting forward our own ambitious and tangible commitments.
“We believe that the transformation of our food system is an ambition requiring the participation of all stakeholders throughout the value chain.
“We look forward to working closely with our EU partners to deliver this ambitious path to sustainable food systems.”
Central-England Co-op represents over 400 of the country’s stores, and joins European branches of the Co-op who have already signed up to the code.
Euro Co-op, a non-governmental organisation representing Co-operative retailers in Europe, said the policy was vital for ensuring a sustainable approach to food supply chains.
Todor Ivanov, Euro Co-op secretary-general, said: “We are believers in co-operation and we stand ready to engage all stakeholders along the value chain in embracing higher sustainability performance.
“Policymakers’ role is crucial for providing an enabling environment so businesses could flourish and maximise their potential.”
The EU initiative, which came into force on the 5 July 2021, has been developed alongside EU associations and companies, international organisations, NGOs, trade unions and trade associations. It outlines a framework of objectives and targets, setting out a common vision for the EU food chain and other actors to help achieve sustainable food systems.
The code forms part of the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy, which aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly, making "European food the global standard for sustainability," according to the European Commission (EC).
Over 65 companies have already signed up to the code, including Coca-Cola, Kellogg's and Nestlé.
The code is currently voluntary but the EC said: “The Commission will consider legislative measures if progress is insufficient.”
The code requires participating companies to remain transparent about sustainability figures and publish an annual progress report.
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