// The Co-op becomes the first UK retailer to pledge support for the UN’s climate change campaign
// The Our Only Future campaign urges businesses to make critical contributions to help cap global temperature increases to 1.5°C
// It also has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to net zero by 2050
The Co-op has been unveiled as the first UK retailer to become a signatory of the UN’s Our Only Future campaign at its Climate Action Summit in New York.
The initiative urges businesses to make critical contributions to help cap global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The move follows Co-op’s announcement earlier this year that it has committed to further reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions of 50 per cent by 2025.
The retailer said it has already halved its greenhouse gas emissions in the 10 years from 2006, and in the last year alone it reduced emissions by 20 per cent.
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Changes planned by the Co-op include the use of natural refrigerants, and minimising the environmental impact of its products through responsible sourcing.
All Co-op premises already use 100 per cent renewable electricity.
Our Only Future’s emissions reduction targets – which are aligned to a net-zero future – will be independently verified and assessed by the Science Based Targets initiative and have been set in response to what climate science indicates is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change.
“Today is an important day in the global fight to combat climate catastrophe and we commend the UN in initiating such a large-scale call-to-action,” Co-op retail chief commercial officer Michael Fletcher said.
“It’s pleasing to see our Co-op take its place alongside other prominent businesses who share our desire to take immediate and decisive action.
“Accelerating efforts, by working collaboratively with independently agreed, accountable science-based targets in place, is the only way to proceed.
“As a co-operative retail business it’s imperative that we lead the way in doing what’s right – and that is to ensure we have a healthy, sustainable natural environment to pass on to future generations.”
The UN said that in order to build a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, a transformation of unprecedented pace and scale is required, with decisive business leadership and investment in climate solutions supported by government policies.
In an open letter to worldwide business leaders in June, one of Our Only Future’s main advocates, UN Special Envoy for the 2019, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, said:
“We need concrete, realistic plans by 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero by 2050.
“Climate change requires an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society and business leadership demonstrated by setting science-based targets at 1.5°C will send strong market signals as we look to identify the scalable and replicable solutions needed to secure a world where no one is left behind.”