Marks & Spencer and The Co-op are the UK's greenest supermarkets according to a survey by Ethical Consumer magazine.
Ethical Consumer compared the environmental and ethical performance of 19 of the UK's leading supermarkets and convenience shops. It found a clear gap between M&S and the Co-op and the other 19 companies.
In order to reach its conclusion the magazine carried out research into the companies' policies and performance including analysis of their CSR reports.
It found that the three worst performing companies in terms of ethics and environment were Tesco, ASDA and Netto, which came bottom.
Ethical Consumer commended the Co-op for its sourcing policy for fish, which is based on the aims and objectives of the Marine Stewardship Council. The Co-op also won points for its goal of 98% renewable electricity at its 5,500 sites across the UK.
M&S won plaudits for its policies regarding palm oil and its partnership with WWF on this issue. In addition, M&S gained top marks for the climate change element of its CSR strategy. This includes using non crop-derived bio fuels in its fleet.
Both companies have impressive long-term track records in CSR.
M&S recently announced a major shift in its transport system to cut its carbon emissions. M&S will now move 300,000 clothing and home products from road to rail distribution saving 800 tonnes of CO2 a year. This forms part of its Plan A to combat climate change, a key element of M&S's CSR strategy.
It is the first time that M&S will transport clothing on hangers by rail, following a trial earlier this year. The system to allow the transport of clothing in this way was funded by a six-figure grant from the Plan A Innovation Fund. This fund was set up by M&S to finance business ideas that have an environmental or ethical benefit.
Earlier this year, members of the Co-operative Group gave more than £1m of their interim dividend to charities and community groups.
The 4.8m members of the group who used their dividend card earned £16.9m. Half of those receiving a payment have chosen to give all or part of their profits to charity - a massive £1.2m.
The members were eligible to receive a cash payment based on points earned when shopping at any of the Group's businesses.
Rob Harrison from Ethical Consumer and co-author of the buyers' guide said:
"If you're lucky enough to live close to a local independent shop that has an ethical stocking policy then this is where we would recommend people to shop. However the reality is that the vast majority of us now shop in supermarkets and we would therefore urge shoppers to choose either the Co-op or M&S."
"These two companies have made genuine efforts to reduce the environmental and ethical impact of their operations and have demonstrated that they are setting the environmental agenda for supermarkets."
Fuente: Just Means