The number two Swiss retailer is ranked by independent agency oekom research AG as most committed chain in the world to sustainable development
Coop is the second biggest Swiss food retailer, with 35% of the market. It currently has 1,933 retail supermarkets in Switzerland and posted net sales of €14.9 billion in 2013, up by 1.7% on the previous year despite several waves of price cutting.
Coop has long been committed to sustainable development. “Sustainable development is a very important issue for Swiss consumers,” emphasized Raphaël Schilling, Coop’s head of Sustainable Development. “For Coop, it is essential to invest in this field in order to guarantee product availability in the long term”.
For fruit and vegetables, the group has identified four main sources of sustainability-related risk: working conditions at source, energy and CO2, water use, and pesticides.
On working conditions, Coop’s strategy for produce from developing countries is to expand FairTrade certification. Already 95% of its bananas and a large proportion of its avocados, pineapples and mangoes are FairTrade certified and the process is under way for papayas.
To reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint, Coop gives preference to regional, national and European products, in that order. It also limits the use of air freight as much as possible. For instance, white asparagus used to be imported from Peru by air and now travels by sea.
Read the full article online here on page 18 of issue 133 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine