U.K.’s Co-op Introduces Ethical Operating Plan, Guardian Says

Co-operative Group Ltd., a mutually owned U.K. food retailer and financial company, is introducing an ethical operating plan that it hopes will set new standards for corporate responsibility on carbon reduction, fair trade and community involvement, the Guardian reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Peter Marks.

In an interview with the newspaper, Marks said the group plans to increase its involvement with schools, create 2,000 apprenticeships and spend 5 million pounds ($8 million) a year on alleviating poverty around its stores and branches, the newspaper said.

The credit crisis raised questions about the capitalist model, and people want businesses they can trust, with a strong sense of social responsibility, Marks told the Guardian.

The Co-op aims to cut its operational carbon emissions by 35 percent in the next six years and have 90 percent of its primary commodities from the developing world certified as Fairtrade by 2020, the newspaper said.

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