The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a global body that evaluates corporate climate goals, has validated the net zero targets of Co-op, in what is claimed to be the first for any convenience retailer in the UK. 

With this validation, the SBTi endorsed Co-op’s objectives to reach net zero in its operations by 2035 and across its entire value chain by 2040. 

The retailer is claimed to be also one of the first in the country to set science-based targets for its forest, land, and agriculture (FLAG) emissions.  

The targets of Co-op, which operates a network of 2,400 food stores across the UK, include a commitment to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 66% and Scope 3 emissions from energy and industrial sources by 58.8% by 2030, with 2016 as the baseline year. 

In addition, the convenience retailer has pledged to cut absolute scope 3 FLAG emissions by 42.4% by 2030 from the 2016 base year.  

This is in addition to a target of achieving no deforestation in its primary deforestation-linked commodities by the end of 2025.  

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As part of its Climate Plan, launched in 2021, the retailer already cut its Scope 3 emissions by 21% and Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 59%. 

Co-op Group CEO and the Government Net Zero Council co-chair Shirine Khoury Haq said: “Reducing our impact on the planet is so important, which is why we are now building on the progress we have already made to date by setting ourselves challenging and robust targets. 

“I’m delighted and proud that we are the first UK convenience retailer to have net-zero targets validated by the globally recognised body, SBTi. We are committed to maintaining the positive momentum we have already achieved in the decarbonisation of our supply chain.” 

Earlier this month, the retailer confirmed a substantial pay increase for its frontline store employees, aligning with the UK’s Real Living Wage.