Working in partnership with meat supplier Dunbia, the retailer has announced that it will financially reward farmers within its beef supply chain for employing sustainable methods and reducing their impact on the environment.
The ‘Beef Sustainability Pilot’, as it will be known, was created as part of Co-op’s plan to decarbonise its supply chain.
The pilot scheme is set to be implemented over a two-year period, enabling Co-op to assess its impact as an incentive. The retailer also hopes to use the emissions data provided by participating farmers to inform future initiatives that form part of its efforts to reach net zero by 2040.
The farmers taking part in the pilot represent around 10% of Co-op’s beef supply chain and will be supported throughout the programme with access to a bespoke emission reduction plan. The sustainability dividend each farmer receives will be linked to the emission reductions they achieve over the course of the programme.
Dunbia will also share knowledge and best practices with participants, while also raising awareness of the different methods that have proved successful.
'Co-op supporting farmers on their sustainability journey'
Commenting on the pilot scheme’s launch, Co-op agriculture manager Joseph Keating said: “Recognising and rewarding farmers who are leading the way and making positive changes to reduce their carbon footprint is important in developing a more resilient and sustainable agriculture industry, so we’re thrilled to announce our new 'Beef Sustainability Pilot' at Co-op alongside Dunbia.
“As a responsible retailer, we continue to lead on the issues that matter most to our member owners and customers, and supporting British farmers on their collective sustainability journey is at the very heart of this. We know that by investing in British agriculture, we are investing in the UK economy, supporting farming communities and meeting our members concerns for food provenance.”
According to Kantar data for the 12 weeks leading up to 24 December 2023, Co-op holds a 5.4% share of the UK grocery market. The approximate amount of the payments set to be awarded was not disclosed.