The Co-operative passes 'green' sourcing test with flying colours

December 28, 2011

The Co-operative Food has become the first retailer to graduate from WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) in the UK. 

To qualify, The Co-operative Food had to demonstrate that it used at least 95% sustainable materials for all its wood and paper-based products. 

Following an independent audit, the retailer’s wood and paper-based products were found to be consistently more than 95% credibly certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and/or made from recycled materials.

Ultra absortbent decorated kitchen towelsAll The Co-operative’s wood and paper-based products including toilet tissue, kitchen towel, charcoal, Christmas cards and wrapping paper, are responsibly sourced, helping to protect the world’s forests and minimise their impact on the environment.

The move underpins The Co-operative’s wider commitment to sustainability following the launch of its groundbreaking Ethical Plan earlier this year.  In October, The Co-operative became the largest UK supermarket to certify all of its palm oil use as sustainable.  Using sustainable palm oil will help to protect endangered species, such as the orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger, as well as safeguard the future of smallholder farmers. 

Sean Toal, Acting Chief Executive at The Co-operative Food, said: “As the first retailer to graduate from WWF’s UK Global Forest and Trade Network, we’re leading the way in sourcing wood and paper-based products in a responsible and sustainable way.

“The environment is important to our customers and members, and our efforts to transform our supply chains are helping to protect the world’s forests and reduce levels of deforestation.”

Julia Young, WWF-UK GFTN Manager, said: “The Co-operative has quietly gone about the job of changing their supply chain for forest goods for the better. I am happy that they are now being more public about these commitments and successes through their Ethical Plan, and have no hesitation in congratulating them on the professionalism shown in achieving graduation from GFTN-UK. I look forward to The Co-operative’s success being the forerunner of what will eventually be the norm, with responsible forest trade mainstreamed in UK retailing at this level.”

More information about The Co-operative’s work on wood and paper sourcing 

Additional Information: 


The mission of WWF's Global Forest and Trade Network-UK (GFTN-UK) is to improve the management of the world's production forests by using the purchasing power and influence of UK businesses.

The GFTN-UK was founded in 1991, originally called the WWF 1995 Group, and has 35 participating companies.

Its founding members' vision was to ensure their timber and paper supplies came from well managed forests, and did not contribute to forest destruction and illegal logging practices.

Since its launch, GFTN-UK has become widely recognised as a successful partnership between WWF and business – a partnership that promotes and progresses responsible management of the world’s forests.

The Co-operative Group:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over six million consumers.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas.

The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 106,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.  Further information is available at


Contact Information:

Adele Mandy                                                                                       
Assistant PR Manager – National
The Co-operative Food
Tel: 0161 266 3591
Mob: 07713 314894