The Midcounties Co-operative, the UK’s largest independent co-operative society, is to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in recognition of its positive environmental initiatives, sustained growth and contribution to the local communities which it serves.
The member-owned Society is one of just 12 companies to receive the prestigious award in the Sustainable Development category in 2015 and was praised for saving over £1m a year through energy efficiency and waste recycling projects.
In the past decade The Midcounties Co-operative has also increased sales by 65% to £1.2bn and has distributed a total of £44m in profits as dividends to members. It has also raised over £1.4m for local charities and good causes, showing continued commitment to social responsibility as it has grown.
Its Co-operative Energy business was also recognised in the Queen’s Awards for buying three quarters of its energy supply from renewable sources and being the first energy provider to give customers control of how it sources its energy mix.
The award will be presented to the Society by The Queen in July.
Ben Reid, chief executive of The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “We’re proud that our social, environmental, community and employee achievements have been recognised by the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
“Ten years after The Midcounties Co-operative was formed in its current structure, our Society is proof that the co-operative model is thriving and can benefit not just our members but everyone that touches our business, from our partners and suppliers to local community groups and the millions of people that use our products and services every day.
“Our diversity is our greatest strength. With the support of our board, which represents our members, we adopted a strategy of developing into new business areas when The Midcounties Co-operative was formed in 2005 following the merger of the Oxford, Swindon and Gloucester Co-op and West Midlands Co-op.
“This strategy has paid off. We now operate a wide portfolio of businesses that provide essential products and services to the local communities that we serve, and as the Society has grown, our sustainable practices have evolved and now benefit an even larger group of stakeholders.”
In the past two years alone, The Midcounties Co-operative’s colleagues, members and customers have raised over £550,000 for its charity partner Teenage Cancer Trust, and the Society is now focusing its fundraising and community effort into local activity to make a different in the local areas where it operates.
The Society also became the first business to be reaccredited with the Fair Tax Mark, awarded to organisations which display a high degree of transparency in their tax affairs, reflecting its ongoing commitment to trade fairly and openly.
And it also achieved recognition from the Carbon Trust for excellence in its management, reporting and reduction of carbon emissions which have reduced by over 10% since 2009.