Coop Switzerland Case Study

Case Study: Going Beyond Traditional Carbon Offsets - Coop & Insetting

Coop wants all the projects it invests in to achieve the highest possible benefit for the environment and the local population involved in its value chain.

The Coop Group is one of the largest retail groups in Switzerland. In addition to its supermarkets, the Group boasts a wide variety of different sales formats, as well as various wholesale and manufacturing companies. Coop is the clear market leader in environmentally friendly and fair-trade products.

What is the context?

In 2008, Coop drew up its “CO2-neutral by 2023" vision. To achieve this vision, Coop is cutting its absolute energy consumption by 20% each year and increasing the proportion of renewable energy to 80%. This will result in a reduction of around 50 per cent on absolute annual CO2 emissions vis-à-vis 2008, and the remaining CO2 emissions will be offset from 2023 onwards.

What was the challenge?

As with all of its emission reduction projects, Coop wanted to ensure that this insetting project is not only real and verifiable but also makes measurable contributions to sustainable development - benefiting the local communities involved in Coop's value chain.

How did Coop proceed?

Developing emission projects from scratch in supply chains in developing countries, is not an easy task: it requires proven experience on the ground, a global outreach, and professional project management skills. This is why Coop selected WWF as its environmental partner, and, in turn, South Pole as technical expert, with innovation as a top priority. Coop asked WWF and consequently South Pole to pioneer their “insetting" concept with emission reduction projects directly in Coop's operations, with a special focus on communities in the fair trade supply chain. Thanks to this early engagement and innovative approach developed by South Pole, the concept is now leading the way for other companies engaged in insetting.

What was the solution?

The pioneering insetting project Coop invested in aims to employ local entrepreneurs to enable sustained supply of household water filters, while also focusing on awareness raising in the communities. This means that the project not only guarantees a reduction in CO2-emissions, but also strong support for co-benefits regarding biodiversity, livelihood, health impacts and employment - all of which are prioritised by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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