Co-op Pours £15m into Global Water Initiative

On World Water Day, Co-op has announced its customers and members have raised over £15 million to date to clean water and sanitation projects, through its partnership with The One Foundation.

The convenience retailer is the only supermarket to have an own brand charity water, which is available at almost 7,500 convenience stores, including independent retailers who are supplied by Co-op, and 3p of every litre sold goes to The One Foundation. 50 per cent of the money raised for The One Foundation supports projects in Co-op Fairtrade producer communities too, providing WASH into sourcing locations. Furthermore, as a pioneer partner to Water Unite, 1p of every litre of branded water is donated to support clean water projects together with our branded suppliers.

This is part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals initiative to end water poverty by 2030 through the funding of water, sanitation and hygiene projects by applying a micro-levy to bottled water sales globally and sales from Co-op has reached more than 2.4m lives.

Global demand for water is projected by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to increase by 50 per cent by 2030 and the UN projects a 40 per cent global water shortfall by 2030. Water security is one of the most material climate-related risks related to the food industry and the IPCC Report indicates that 3.5 billion people are highly vulnerable to climate impacts and half the world’s population suffers severe water shortages at some point each year.

Steve Murrells, Co-op CEO, said: “Water is a fundamental human right yet hundreds of millions of people globally still lack access to safe drinking water. Access to basic hygiene and sanitation is key and has become more important than ever over the last few years as it’s essential in reducing the spread of coronavirus and many other diseases. We’re proud to support this global movement, because we know we can co-operate for a fairer world and together, can make sure everyone has access to safe, clean water and sanitation facilities.”

As part of its Global Wellbeing Charter, Co-op repurposed £647,000 of funding to clean water and sanitation projects to help tackle the spread and impact of COVID-19. This supported the construction of public and school toilet blocks in Fairtrade Cocoa growing communities in the Ashanti region of Ghana, as well as drilling and repair of solar pumps in three health centres in Fairtrade tea growing region of Malawi. Water systems were also strengthened in Fairtrade sugar growing region of Kasinthula, Malawi and the sanitation systems in low-income communities in Nairobi Informal Settlements.

Nikki Armstrong, Programming and Partnerships Manager, The One Foundation, said: “ We are so grateful for the leadership and commitment that Co-op has shown in ensuring clean water and sanitation for communities across Africa. Their support is unparalleled in the retail grocery sector and has transformed lives. Reaching this incredible milestone of £15m raised and 2.4m lives changed is testimony to Co-op‘s pioneering approach to ethical trading and sustainability. We are incredibly proud of this partnership and of this amazing achievement.”

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