Co-operative wins responsible retailer title for fourth time in a row

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The Co-operative Group has been named the UK’s most responsible retailer for the fourth year running at the Oracle Retail Week Awards 2011.

The judges were impressed by the depth of retailer’s commitment to being a responsible business and the scope of its initiatives, from its £30m Inspiring Young People programme in the UK to tackling global poverty and its support for Fairtrade. The panel said The Co-operative was a clear winner and still “streets ahead” in the responsible retailing stakes.

The Co-operative, which launched its Ethical Operating Plan in February, beat Asda, B&Q, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco to take the coveted “green” award.

Peter Marks, group chief executive, said: “The Awards recognise the best in the highly competitive UK retailing industry, not just the grocery sector, so to win this particular accolade four years in succession is an incredible achievement.

“However, as the launch of The Co-operative Ethical Plan demonstrates, we are not resting on our laurels, and this award recognises the hard work and commitment of colleagues across the Group in delivering our Co-operative difference and campaigning for what we believe in, supported by our members and customers.”

The Co-operative Group has also announced plans to roll out its higher-welfare Elmwood standard to its fresh British pork range.

From tomorrow (23 March 2011), all Co-operative own-brand fresh pork will be produced from British pigs reared to the retailer’s higher-welfare standard or above, as will all its own-brand sausages.

The launch will be supported by TV and press advertising, which will include a deal on The Co-operative British Elmwood Pork Shoulder Joint, which will be half-price at £2.49 per kg from 23 March-12 April inclusive.

The Elmwood standard includes reduced transport time, natural light, straw bedding, environmental enrichments and a healthier diet for the pigs.