The Co-operative: Carbon Insetting Delivers Supply Chain Community Benefits

“Over the last twelve years we have enjoyed a positive and successful relationship with ClimateCare. The team consistently deliver projects that provide community benefits as well as carbon reductions and that match our brand position as a leader on social responsibility.

Most recently ClimateCare is creating new partnerships to help us achieve carbon reductions through bespoke projects that benefit communities within our own supply chain.”

Ben Norbury, The Co-operative


The Challenge

Long before most businesses, The Co-operative recognised the need to act on climate change. For nearly a decade the group has reported its GHG emissions and has reduced direct emissions by 45% since 2006, with a target of 50% by 2020. The Co-operative takes carbon management further by purchasing renewable energy and then voluntarily offsetting some of its unavoidable GHG emissions.

Social value has also been central to The Co-operative since it was founded. Building on its leading approach to Fairtrade, it also supports producers with benefits above and beyond what the Fairtrade premium delivers. For example, through its Beyond Fairtrade programme it is providing help to strengthen democracy, boost productivity, diversify into other products, improve environmental practices, have a stronger voice in trading negotiations or improve community-wide access to basic necessities like clean water, sanitation and green energy.

Now, the Group is leading the field again, working with ClimateCare to bring these two elements of its CSR programme together. It will deliver environmental and social aims by investing in a bespoke project, designed from the outset to measurably improve lives, tackle climate change and support a tea co-operative within its Fairtrade supply chain.


The Solution

ClimateCare’s award winning project development expertise, coupled with our integrated approach to Climate and Development meant we were able to rise to the challenge of developing integrated supply chain projects.

In close consultation with The Co-operative headquarters in Manchester, we worked with Fairtrade tea-producing co-operatives in Kenya to understand their community requirements and devised ways to deliver those improvements using carbon finance.

After a series of community consultations, lack of access to safe water was identified as a key issue. As a result, ClimateCare is now working on a series of bespoke Climate and Development projects to provide safe water and cut carbon emissions within The Co-operatives’ Fairtrade supply chain communities.


The Impact

  • The first of these supply chain projects is an extension of the AquaClara Project to communities in Kericho – which are part of the Co-operatives Fairtrade tea supply chain. It is expected that this extension will cut 6,462 tonnes of carbon and provide safe water to 14,000 people.
  • The Co-operative will be able to offset some of its UK carbon emissions through this and future projects, taking responsibility for its unavoidable environmental impact and at the same time building supply chain resilience and adaptability to the impacts of climate change.
  • And, through a joined up approach ClimateCare is helping The Co-operative make smarter use of its budget to meet environmental, community and business goals.


ClimateCare’s Role

We have been working in partnership with The Co-operative for over twelve years, developing and sourcing projects which reduce carbon emissions and support sustainable development.

Our unique position as a project developer, coupled with our Climate and Development expertise meant we were able to help The Co-operative integrate its activity. Through bespoke project development we are helping it take advantage of synergies and meet both its sustainable development and environmental objectives.


More information

> Read more about the AquaClara Project

> The Co-operative Group Sustainability Report

> AquaClara Project scoops two awards in Gold Standard Photo competition

> Ethical TV Features AquaClara Video

> ClimateCare Director Tom Morton tastes safe water from the AquaClara project