Hello everyone and welcome to my Coop Directors blog. I hope to be able to keep Members and Colleagues up to date with current issues and I am keen to hear from you.
Our Fairtrade activity makes a tremendous impact on communities all over the world. We will rightly be celebrating this fantastic work in Fairtrade Fortnight in March but we can also do similar brilliant work here at home.
Some of you may have heard of the Social Value Act which I helped to take through Parliament when I was an MP. This encourages the creation of Social, Economic and Environmental Impact in communities by using procurement and supply chains in more creative ways.
This is a perfect way for our Coop to make a real difference in our communities by making sure every pound we spend on purchasing is working hard to create local jobs, support local suppliers and build economic activity in areas which have been hard hit in recent times.
For example we currently have a national contract for refurbishing our stores which can mean contractors travelling long distances across the country to do the work. Why don’t we have local contracts so we can employ local joiners, plasterers, plumbers and tilers? This would provide much needed jobs and apprenticeships too and would also encourage local people to shop with us to support local firms. Everyone benefits and we bring our COOP commitment to communities alive.
I met recently with the Heads of our food and non- food procurement groups and they are really enthusiastic about how we can use this approach to maximise the impact of our day to day spend and our longer term investment in the refurbishment of our stores.
I will be working with them with the support of the Board over the next six months to come up with some more practical proposals which we can implement quickly and embed in our mainstream activity.
My experience in promoting Social Value which many local Councils now use for their procurement is that it doesn’t have to cost more and can achieve extra from the same investment. If we can create more jobs and support more local suppliers we can make a real COOP Difference which is after all what we are here to do.
Please do let me know what you think of this approach and any local examples you would like me to take up.