Co-op boss Steve Murrells calls for grocers to become greener

Co-op boss calls for grocers to become greener by cutting plastic use and ditching polluting lorries

The boss of the Co-operative supermarket says ‘the climate emergency is upon us’ and has called on retailers to cut plastic use and ditch polluting lorries.

Steve Murrells, who will be giving a speech at the Westminster Business Forum today, will be the first supermarket boss to publicly support the introduction of electric lorries for the big grocers.

Murrells took the top job at the Co-op in 2017, having led its food business since 2012.

Climate call: Co-op boss Steve Murrells will be the first supermarket boss to publicly support the introduction of electric lorries for the big grocers

Today he will say: ‘As a nation we face many challenges, but these can be overcome if we truly co-operate and pool our natural resources together.

‘The climate emergency is upon us but there’s no need to be apocalyptic. We should instead be optimistic, providing we take bold and collective action. No one retailer should carry the burden, and the Government needs to create a level playing field for business, through targets and legislation to back this up.’

His comments follow promises from UK supermarkets to change. It is believed that they produce around 800,000 tons of plastic a year.

Research by consumer group Which? found that 52 per cent of items they sell were ‘easy to recycle’, adding in its report that ‘we think every supermarket could do more’. 

Tesco and Waitrose performed best in the survey, while and Morrisons did worst, followed by Co-op.

In November, Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket, vowed to remove 1bn pieces of plastic by the end of this year – equivalent to one piece in 18 it currently produces. Sainsbury’s, number two in the UK, is investing £1billion to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Early prototypes for electric lorries have been put forward by the likes of Tesla, Daimler and Cummins. 

Some firms in continental Europe are already trialling electric HGVs, with experts promising they ‘look set to become the norm’.


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