The Mid-counties Co-operative – Responsible Business Champion – Place

1 Change: Co-operative solutions to local issues

The Connected Places Award

Social responsibility is at the heart of The Midcounties Co-operative. It’s ‘1 Change’ initiative aims to tackle single-use plastic in the local community – connecting its members and communities together to provide an effective solution.

Societal impacts

The Midcounties Co-operative has been able to:

  • engage over 1,000 member and community pledges to tackle single use plastics in the community
  • enable 1,000 eco bricks to be created to build a Turkey shed made out of waste plastic for its community partner Fairy-tale Farm. It mobilised members, customers, community partners and schools to work together through its Cotswold Regional Community in order to make this happen.
  • support circular economy principles, it is the first UK retailer to offer this innovative solution through eco bricks, and has developed a community model that can be rolled out in other areas.
  • enable over 700 volunteers to tidy up 380 bags of litter from the natural environment across its 20 Regional Communities involving schools, members, community partners and colleagues.

Business impacts

The Midcounties Co-operative has:

  • Achieved eco school status across all of its 44 Childcare Nursery sites.
  • In the last full financial year its colleagues delivered 38,000 volunteering hours in paid work time, equivalent to a financial value of over £550,000.
  • Analysis has shown that colleague turnover and absence levels are lower amongst its colleagues that volunteer, and colleague engagement levels have also improved. Overall its annual colleague engagement score has increased to 85 from 81 in 2015.
  • As a result of its community engagement, it has been able to implement business changes that are resulting in a reduction of two tonnes of plastic per year through its operations, helping to save £700,000 per year on waste costs.

Supporting local organisations and causes is a key component of our social responsibility strategy.

A spokesperson for Mid-counties Co-operative, said: “As a Co-operative, social responsibility underpins all elements of our business, backed by the total support of our 700,000 member owners and our 8,000 colleagues. Our DOES Values (democracy, openness, equality, and social responsibility) are embedded throughout the business and drive everything that we do. Supporting local organisations and causes is a key component of our social responsibility strategy, enabling our members, colleagues and community partners to connect, influence and co-operate in joint activities to promote Co-operation as a solution at a local and National level. With 94% of our members asking us to take action to tackle single use plastic, we launched our 1 Change campaign enabling us to connect our members, colleagues and communities to work together to develop co-operative solutions to tackle this issue. As a result of our campaign we have engaged over 1,000 pledges to tackle single use plastic in the community.”