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Why we're different

The Co-operative is a modern business whose ethos is as relevant today as it was 170 years ago.


Throughout our history we have remained true to our ethics and beliefs, knowing that they are right for our customers, our communities and our colleagues.

Ethical trading

In the future, if it can be Fairtrade, it will be Fairtrade. Since 2013, some 90% of the primary commodities sourced from the developing world will be certified to Fairtrade standards. The ground-breaking pledges in The Co-operative’s new Ethical Operating Plan include the most radical Fairtrade conversion programme ever undertaken, to help The Co-operative Food to develop a unique range of projects and initiatives that benefit producers and take us beyond Fairtrade.

Fairtrade

We have been the UK’s biggest supermarket supporter of Fairtrade since 1992, and have achieved a number of Fairtrade firsts:

  • In 2002 we converted our entire block chocolate range to Fairtrade.
  • In 2007 we sold the first supermarket Fairtrade bag.
  • In 2008 we became the first UK supermarket to convert our entire own-brand hot beverage category to Fairtrade.

The Co-operative Food sells Fairtrade products in more outlets than any other retailer and has the widest range of Fairtrade products of any retailer.

In the future, if it can be Fairtrade, it will be Fairtrade. By 2013, some 90% of the primary commodities sourced from the developing world will be certified to Fairtrade standards. The ground-breaking pledges in The Co-operative’s new Ethical Operating Plan include the most radical Fairtrade conversion programme ever undertaken, to help The Co-operative Food to develop a unique range of projects and initiatives that benefit producers and take us beyond Fairtrade.

Environment

On top of the 15% weight reduction we have already achieved in packaging, we will reduce the environmental impact by a further 10% by 2012 and increase our carrier bag reduction target to 75% by 2013.

Animal Welfare

In 2010, for the second year running, The Co-operative Group won a public vote to be named RSPCA People’s Choice Supermarket for our commitments to animal welfare. The Co-operative Group won the award because of its commitments to higher-welfare poultry, including Freedom Food-labelled free-range chicken, Freedom Food-labelled free-range eggs, outdoor-reared beef and strict welfare standards for its own-brand pork.

We have a robust animal welfare policy and have led the way in many areas over the years. In 1999, we were first to be awarded the right to use the International Cruelty-Free symbol, developed by leading animal welfare organisations world-wide, including the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection), on its range of Health and Beauty products.

The BUAV Humane Household Products Standard was developed in conjunction with
The Co-operative Group and was published in 2003. We became the first grocery retailer to be accredited to this standard and in March 2004 we were granted permission to use the symbol.

Food quality, diet and health

Our aim is to be the number one retailer in educating, raising awareness of and promoting diet and health issues to the wider community. We do this in a number of ways, including the web, in-store leaflets and honest food messages displayed on our shelves, in our advertising, other publications and on our own brand packaging, where we believe we provide more information than anyone else.

The Co-operative Group was one of the first retailers to sign up to the Food Standards Agency traffic light scheme, a front-of-pack labelling scheme which can help everyone choose the healthier options when out shopping.

Community retailing

We are proud to be seen as the local retailer and a familiar face that shoppers know they can trust.

Training and development

Whether you apply within Logistics as a Driver, Operative, Team Leader or Shift Manager at any of our UK Depots or for our Food Stores as a Customer Team Member, Team Leader or Manager we’ll provide training and support from your first day – and throughout your career. Your friendly colleagues will provide you with practical training and advice to welcome you into your role, and our unique e-learning programme provides a learning platform to further develop your knowledge and skills.

We recognise that learning doesn’t stop with induction. That’s why our dedicated team of Operational Trainers also offers a variety of internal and external courses across our logistics and store network. And our People Management courses and Co-operative Way Team Manager and Store Manager Programmes can equip you with the knowledge and leadership skills to develop further and gain qualifications along the way.

The Co-operative Food has always been about people: our customers, our communities and our employees. So if you’re committed, driven, enthusiastic and want to share in our success, we’ll provide the training and development opportunities you need to go as far.

Life after the Service

We work hard to make sure our talented teams reflect the diversity of our customers. And a big part of that involves doing all we can to recruit people with a Services background. With our business serving every corner of the UK in lots of different ways, we can offer a wide range of career paths and a smooth transition from the forces to civilian life.

From stores to head office to our logistics network, we provide a broad choice of roles at all levels – right across the UK. We’ve even formed close partnerships with a variety of organisations such as Job Centre Plus to help people find a job that’s right for them. In fact, 25% of our drivers alone are ex-forces. And the fact that most people who join from the Service tend to stay only serves to highlight how well we support, train and develop our people to make the most of their skills and achieve their potential.

The next steps after the forces

We currently advertise our vacancies on Job Centre Plus, Careers Transition Partnership and Civvy Street websites – and we partner with CTP and Civvy Street to really extend our support to applicants from the Services. By attending local job fairs and working closely with Job Centre Plus too, we ensure a strong focus on recruiting people with a Service background – doing all we can to make the move to civilian life as simple and rewarding as possible. With in-store and logistics careers across every area of our business, at every level, in every corner of the UK, you’re sure to find something that suits your skills – as well as specialist training, development opportunities and the chance to progress.