The UPS Environmental Sustainability Award: Midcounties Co-operative

Award Type: 

Finalist for Business in the Community's UPS Environmental Sustainability Award 2019

Midcounties Co-operative: Community energy at the heart of efforts to become a sustainable retailer 

The Midcounties Co-operative has 500 trading sites and 700,000 members who enjoy a share of the profits. 

The company has focused heavily on energy saving and waste reduction in recent years, cutting energy consumption by more than 15% since 2010 and increasing recycling levels to 99% from 21% – both of which have achieved £1 million a year savings. 

Across its portfolio of stores, any food waste that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration goes to anaerobic digestion. This produces enough renewable energy to power 40 homes every year. Other wasted food is provided to FareShare to be given to families in need. 

But it is the company’s Sustainable Communities programme that has really enabled the business to engage with its members and communities to help them tackle climate change issues. Its energy business now has 333,000 customers in total, all buying 100% renewably sourced energy. 

The launch of a User Chooser tariff gives customers the chance to choose where their energy comes from. Through a collaboration with 69 community energy groups, the business is buying enough locally-generated renewable energy to power more than 8,500 homes, saving 30,100 tonnes of CO2. 

The company’s Warm Home Discount scheme has provided more than £4 million of support to 19,000 of its most vulnerable customers who are at risk of, or experiencing, fuel poverty. 

Meanwhile, the food retail business generated £96 million in ethical trade sales last year, up from £89 million the previous year. 

The information in this impact story has been supplied by Midcounties Co-operative.