Southern Co-op gets Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development

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Southern Co-op has been presented with the award for Sustainable Development as part of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. 

HM Lord-Lieutenant Nigel Atkinson Esq. of Hampshire visited the independent co-operative last week to praise it for its strong values and for continuing to achieve the Fair Tax Mark. 

Its colleagues covering Southern Co-op’s sectors such as retail, coffee branches, head office and end of life services who were present at the ceremony were also thanked for their efforts. 

The Southern Co-op’s current climate targets, set to be achieved by 2030 include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations by 50 percent. 

Speaking at the event, the Lord-Lieutenant said, “This is a very special award presentation. Actually, it is the first time I have presented a sustainable development award. This is a really difficult award to achieve. 

“I had no idea Southern Co-op was formed in Portsmouth in 1873. At that time, it was set up in response to societal change. It was a business to help people help themselves. Sadly, some of these issues still remain today and I’m pleased to see Southern Co-op is still here helping people. 

“Of course, there are other challenges now with the changing climate and declining wildlife and your response comes through very strongly. It’s a great business. I am very pleased to read your values and being customer focused is clearly in your DNA.” 

Mark Smith, chief executive of Southern Co-op, said, “The principles we have around sustainable development go all the way through our business so it is important that we celebrate this success with colleagues throughout our co-operative. 

“Our third party partnerships are also important to us on this journey as we always achieve a lot more when we work with others. 

“This award is an opportunity for us to celebrate where we have got to on our sustainable journey. This award recognises organisations, like our own, who have a true and genuine commitment to being responsible and sustainable, and how it’s truly embedded in business strategy, governance, management, culture, and day to day decision making.”