Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Co-operative Food Ethical Policy

In this video clip from a Guardian climate change conference, Paul Monaghan, head of ethics and sustainability for the Co-op Group, speaks on how businesses can use long-term power purchase agreements for renewable energy, help scale up microgeneration of electricity, improve energy efficiency, get involved with public policy in a positive way, and use carbon offsets.

Monaghan's passion led me to investigate the Co-op Group a little more, and I found that they are developing a new member-led ethical policy for the food they sell. "Going forward the ethical and environmental priorities that underpin our co-operative products will be in line with members' concerns," writes Guy McCracken, Chief Executive for Food Retail at Co-op. They've developed a questionnaire to figure out what those concerns are and how to prioritize them. The questionnaire covers food quality, diet and health, environmental impact, ethical trading, community retailing, animal welfare, metrics for success, and future member consultations.

I'd say meeting half of these targets would be admirable. Does the co-op as an organizing principle give them an advantage?

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