How we’re making our sustainability plan work for us

Our Director, Sustainability & Communications, Gemma Lacey, is responsible for ensuring The Southern Co-operative develops and manages its business in a responsible and sustainable manner.  She works with colleagues across the business to deliver the key elements of our sustainability plan, and monitors and reports on our progress.

Our Leadership Operating Board, chaired by our Chief Executive, ensures we deliver our sustainability plan, as an integral part of our wider business plan. Members of this board include the Retail Director (under appointment) and Chief Operating Officer of End of Life Services businesses, HR Director, Finance Director, Society Secretary and Director, Sustainability & Communications. For more details on our Sustainability Leadership Operating Board please refer to our full Annual Report and Accounts.

Measures relating to sustainability and member and colleague engagement form part of the long-term performance incentives and evaluation for each member of this board.

Our member Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring The Southern Co-operative operates as a successful business.  The Board consists of up to nine Directors who meet on a regular basis to represent the interests of our membership as a whole. They determine business strategy, monitor performance and approve key policies and business decisions – including those relating to our sustainability plan. A dedicated Board champion meets regularly with our Director, Sustainability & Communications to discuss and review our progress in this important area.

We listen and take action
Sustainability covers a broad and varied range of social, ethical and environmental issues. We recognise that we don’t have all the answers and that only by listening, and working together with our members, colleagues and others who have an interest can we truly decide which issues are the most important to our business. We do this in a number of ways

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    • Member views – we consider the issues raised by our Board and by our wider membership through our AGM & Members’ Convention and other engagement channels, including member surveys, events and direct enquires through our Membership team.
    • Other stakeholder views – we run a colleague survey, track customer and client satisfaction, and have regular dialogue with key suppliers and community partners.
    • Business vision – we make sure our sustainability plan is aligned with our business vision, objectives and priorities and individual business strategies. The plan is supported by policies and standards that address key sustainability issues.
    • External standards and benchmarks – we participate in benchmarks such as Business in the Community’s Corporate Responsibility Index, the UK’s leading benchmark for responsible business. We were successful in achieving a score of 83% and a 2-star performance ranking in the 2015 Index.
    • Co-operative approach – our co-operative values and principles guide everything we do as a business.
    • Societal norms and emerging issues – we ensure we comply with all legislation relevant to co-operative social, ethical and environmental issues, and we keep up to date with emerging trends and issues.

2015 BITC CR Index Feedback Report (PDF, 1.5Mb)

The Leadership Team has responsibilities for strategies, policies and programmes relating to specific areas of the Sustainability Plan (see above)

Key policies

Please click on the links below to download the relevant policy:

2015 and beyond

  • Develop a longer term strategy for tackling carbon emissions
  • Develop our approach to developing and managing our estate sustainably
  • Continue our focus on waste reduction and recycling
  • Develop a Sustainable Procurement policy
  • Review our energy champion network and further develop our colleague engagement plans