The Co-operative Group’s members committed the convenience store giant to a raft of ethical, environmental, social and business initiatives at its annual general meeting in Manchester, last weekend.
They backed a motion to make 80% of the Co-op’s packaging easy to recycle by 2020, working towards an ultimate target of 100%.
They also recommitted to Fairtrade values and will extend the Co-op’s ingredients policy beyond cocoa to wherever it uses bananas, tea and coffee in its cakes, desserts and confectionery – a first in the retail industry, it said.
The mutual undertook to extend its commitment to British produce with plans to source £2.5bn of UK farm products over the next three years.
It said it would become the only retailer to sell 100% British own-brand frozen meat, extending its pledge on fresh meat to freezer food. And it would extend its buying season for British fruit and vegetables.
Members have vowed to raise awareness and campaign for greater support for victims of modern slavery in the UK.
Its fundraising to tackle loneliness and isolation in partnership with the Red Cross has topped £6m – well ahead of the £3.5m target set less than two years ago.
Allan Leighton, Co-op chairman, said: “The commitments we’ve made today to help fight modern slavery, cut packaging waste and back British suppliers are what the Co-op is all about.
“Working closely with our members, colleagues and communities I am confident that we can continue to champion a better way of doing business.”