The Co-operative Pharmacy becomes carbon neutral

August 13, 2012

The Co-operative Pharmacy has become the first retail pharmacy chain in the UK to become carbon neutral. 

The Co-operative Pharmacy has achieved this status by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, purchasing electricity from renewable sources, and offsetting the remaining emissions by supporting projects that either absorb or avoid the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions released by the business during operations. 

Virtually all of The Co-operative Pharmacy’s mainland branches now purchase renewable energy and in 2011, the business purchased 18.7 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity. To achieve carbon neutrality 2,549 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the equivalent of driving an average sized car around the world 272 times* – have been offset from a portfolio of projects in the developing world, managed by The Co-operative Pharmacy’s offset provider ClimateCare**.

Examples of these schemes include a water purification project – Aquaclara – in the Eldoret area of northern Kenya which employs local people to manufacture and distribute biosand water filters to households. The project realises carbon savings by replacing the traditional method of water purification – burning wood to boil water. In addition to the carbon saving and local employment, other benefits witnessed include a lower occurrence of water borne diseases and households spending less on fuel wood and medicines.

A project in south west Kenya – Kasigau – protects an area of forest from deforestation due to pressures of logging, agriculture, and unsustainable charcoal making.  The provision of alternative sources of employment (such as an organic clothing factory) and forest products produced in nearby nurseries (such as fruit trees and sustainable charcoal) reduces the pressure to deforest in the area, with an added benefit of tackling poaching in a region which is a wildlife corridor between two national parks.

John Nuttall, Managing Director of The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “We have been working hard to reduce our environmental impact for the benefit of future generations. Through these excellent projects we are not only taking responsibility for reducing our own emissions but we are also supporting low carbon expansion in the developing world.”

The Co-operative Group, which includes The Co-operative Pharmacy, launched a three year rolling Ethical Plan in 2011 taking corporate sustainability in the UK into a new era. This year’s updated Plan, launched in February, contains 53 commitments dedicated to protecting the environment, tackling global poverty, inspiring young people and responsible retailing.  A key target is to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2020, compared to 2006 and as of 2012 a 40 per cent reduction has already been achieved.

The Co-operative Pharmacy also has its own ethical strategy, launched in 2010, putting ethical values and principles into place. For more information visit:

Additional Information:

*Calucated using an average-sized car (0.234kgCO2e/km) driving around the world (40,075km) (Defra emissions factor 2012)
**ClimateCare is an independent ‘profit for purpose’ organisation committed to tackling climate change, poverty and development issues. Visit:

Contact Information:

Alex Wilson      
Senior Public Relations Officer
The Co-operative Group
07540 641368