Interim results 2010: Social Goals

The first half of 2010 saw us continue to pursue an ambitious programme of sustainability, and our approach has been recognised by a host of awards, which include being named the UK’s greenest supermarket and most sustainable bank.

Building on our Community Plan – mandated by 50,000 people – we have stepped up our work inspiring young people with a £21m campaign to enable those aged 25 and under to change their world. This includes: a new Co-operative Apprenticeship Academy creating 2,000 new apprenticeships; award of grants totalling £2m through The Co-operative Foundation’s Truth About Youth programme to challenge negative perceptions of young people, and joining the Votes at 16 Coalition.

We’ve made our extensive range of Fairtrade products available in Somerfield stores to benefit thousands more producers in support of our work to tackle global poverty, which also includes new development projects supporting water, sanitation and co-operative development in producer communities.

As part of our commitment to ecological sustainability, we’ve halved the number of carrier bags given out to customers (a billion less over three years), and our customer and member-led campaigns are helping save the honeybee and combat climate change. We’ve continued to progress our commitment to energy efficiency, with our greenhouse gas emissions down 21% at the beginning of the year.

To further support the ethical policies that guide our family of businesses, we’ve launched a new Pharmacy Ethical Strategy focussing on local communities, responsible retailing, tackling climate change, and a partnership with UNICEF to tackle global poverty. We’ve also strengthened our support for co-operatives through our Enterprise Hub, now up and running to provide £5m of support to businesses across the UK in the form of advice and training.