Central London will now have the opportunity to shop ethically with the opening of a new 24-hour Co-operative Food store on the Strand right by Trafalgar Square.

The latest expansion of Co-operative stores will be in a prime location for civil servants and MPs, and the Co-operative Group has plans of opening 300 more food stores and adding 20 million members to their roster by 2020. By bringing a Co-op so close to the heart of UK Government, hopefully a wider set of politicians will get on board with co-operative values.

Join the Revolution

The secret behind the Co-operative’s success may be its commitment to social responsibility. On 18 February, the Co-operative Group released its Ethical Operations Plan, which outlined various ways the Co-op will revolutionise corporate social responsibility by tackling carbon reduction, transparency, poverty, and community involvement.

“Trust in business has taken a real knock in recent years as the credit crunch has caused people to seriously question the capitalist model,” chief executive Peter Marks told the Guardian. “The mutual is an alternative business model which chimes with the times. People want a business they can trust, with a strong sense of social responsibility. This is our DNA.”

The Co-operative Group commits to setting world-wide standards for openness and honesty while also assisting consumers in making ethical purchasing choices. The plan goes on to discuss ways in which the Co-op will work to support other co-operatives through investments and loans while also working to create and maintain flourishing communities by giving back 10% of profits for community investment and remaining socially inclusive.

The Group commits to protecting the environment by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 35% with 25% of their electricity coming from renewable sources by 2017. They also intend to be carbon neutral by 2012 while also placing a strong focus on environmentally conscious waste disposal.

Human rights and global poverty are two more issues they tackle with the ethical operating plan. They will further their commitment to fair-trade and encourage other food suppliers to do the same while also supporting initiatives to fight global poverty by investing £7m per annum. Other sections of the plan include a focus on health, animal welfare, the promotion of young people, and ethical finance.

The Co-op’s plan is revolutionary – Join the Revolution.