HoneyBees in decline
Published 7 Jul 2017
None of us can turn on the TV or radio, read a newspaper or view a social media post without learning more about the threat of climate change. But what can we do about it to make a difference in our daily lives?
Thanks to you, our trailblazing environmentally friendly customers, the answer is simple: support our new Sustainable Communities programme and make sure you take advantage of the energy efficiency initiatives we’ve introduced in response to your calls for a greener co-operative.
‘Our members told us they wanted us to support the environment, and we listened and acted,’ said Ryan Rushton, Sustainable Communities
Project Manager with The Midcounties Co-operative. The leadership team identified solutions to help reduce people’s carbon footprint while saving
Six pilot schemes to focus on different aspects of sustainability were run in Regional Communities at the start of this year. Following their success, we will be launching the Sustainable Communities programme across 20 of our Regional Community groups.
The Sustainable Communities builds on our successful Regional Communities programme – where our colleagues and members work together to support local projects that matter to those who work, live and learn in their community.The Sustainable Communities project will follow a similar model, involving energy-focused initiatives as part of the Society’s Imagined Future of ‘creating a better, fairer world by building strong local communities’. ‘It puts members and colleagues at the heart of our community programme, encouraging them to be more informed, included and involved in their Society,’ said Ryan.
The successful pilots involved eco-projects such as raising awareness of community energy, a session in Botley School, Oxford, to encourage pupils to take part in Earth Hour, the global initiative to switch off lights for an hour, and a sustainable education session at Walsall Academy on renewable and community energy, as well as plastic pollution.
We also delivered a community energy ‘best practice’ session at Forest High School, Cinderford, and talked about renewable energy, energy efficiency and community energy.
‘The whole idea of Sustainable Communities is to help members save energy in their households, alleviate fuel poverty and raise awareness of community energy,’ said Ryan. ‘We are educating our members on how they can become more sustainable through a trading group of the Co-operative they own as members.’
Co-op Energy now sources 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources – solar, wind and hydro – and offers a range of green energy tariffs, including its ‘Green and Cosy’ tariff, where customers use a portable home heating thermostat controller and the ability to heat designated areas of their home remotely via an app downloaded onto their mobile. Only heating the rooms you want to means lower bills and reduced environmental impact.
‘While we care about the planet, the environment and the threats posed by climate change, we know these concerns are shared by our customers,’ said David Bird, CEO, Co-operative Energy. ‘Two years ago we launched Co-operative Energy Saving, a service dedicated to providing advice, support and products to help you live the most sustainable life possible.’
Members have also been advised of the benefits of insulating their homes, which is both easy and affordable, and accessing government funds to cut fuel bills.
How Midcounties Co-operative combats climate change
The Society reduced its energy usage by 3.7 per cent in 2017, resulting in the business reducing CO2 emissions by over 1,400 tonnes – equivalent to the energy required to run 151 homes. Since 2010, 7,000 tonnes have been saved – equivalent to 1,499 cars being driven for a year or the energy to run 756 homes.
Our food waste recycling process produces enough renewable energy to power 40 homes a year.
Over the past year, we have provided £4 million worth of support to over 19,000 people through the government’s Warm Home Discount scheme for pensioners. Over the past year, we have installed more than 3,000 energy-saving products in people’s homes through our ECO scheme, Energy Company Obligation, a UK Government initiative to help people reduce their utility bills and shrink their carbon footprints by ‘greening’ their homes.