The Midcounties Co-operative has clinched the rare achievement of five stars in Business in the Community’s annual Corporate Responsibility Index.

It is one of only four organisations in the 2016 list to achieve five stars for excellent practices in sustainability, community engagement and high standards of governance, along with Gentoo Group, PwC and Unipart Group.

Its score outranks the The Southern Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis Partnership, Greggs, Britvic Soft Drinks, Heineken UK, Moy Park and WHSmith.

Midcounties scored a record 100% in what is one of the most recognised and longest running benchmarks that measures how businesses are integrating responsible business practice into all aspects of how they operate.

It won praise for improving energy efficiency at its stores – now 100% green-energy powered. The mutual buys more than 45% of energy from renewable sources and has increased its recycling levels to 91%. Its own food waste recycling process produces enough renewable energy to power 40 homes a year.

The award also recognised the society’s customer, colleague and member engagement programme for its ability to embed its values throughout the workforce and wider community.

Its Fair Tax Mark, the highest-ever score realised by a business that trades solely in the UK, demonstrates its fair and democratic values embedded within financial practices.

Pete Westall, group general manager – colleague and co-operative services, said: “This award recognises the way our members, colleagues and customers have come together to help us achieve this. It’s a clear badge showing our commitment to responsible business practices, and one that we’re proud to wear.”

Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, said: “Every business should do something significant for society by being a force for good in the community, but that’s only possible if companies are able to measure the progress they are making as responsible businesses.”