Since 2009, The Co-operative Group has operated a Human Rights and Trade Policy, which establishes the exceptional circumstances under which we will withdraw all trade from a particular state, area or settlement.
One such circumstance is where there is a broad international consensus that the status of a settlement is illegal.
There are only two examples of such illegal areas: the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and the Moroccan settlements in Western Sahara.
On this basis, our policy has previously been not to source any produce or own-brand product from the Israeli settlements (or from Moroccan settlements). Since its adoption, this position has been underpinned by a rigorous monitoring process.
On the 25th April 2012, The Group Board determined that, going forward, we will additionally no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements. This decision has had an impact on four suppliers, and circa £350,000 of trade.
In reaching this decision the Board was mindful of the additional costs involved in the tracing and auditing of all produce supplied by these businesses.
In line with the Board’s decision, we have audited our supply chain and identified a small number of businesses that we can no longer source from, as there is evidence that they source from the settlements.
This position is not a boycott of Israeli businesses, and we continue to have supply agreements with some twenty Israeli suppliers that do not source from the settlements, a number of which may benefit from a transfer of trade.
We will also continue to actively work to increase trade links with Palestinian businesses in the Occupied Territories.