Dressed in full uniform, complete with a ceremonial sword, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire paid a special visit to Southern Co-op to present the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Praising the independent cooperative for its strong values, Lord-Lieutenant Nigel Atkinson Esq said he was honored to present the award on behalf of the Queen.
Southern Co-op’s colleagues and business partners came together for the ceremony where the Sustainable Development award, one of the most prestigious awards for businesses in the UK, was presented to them.
Speaking at the event, the Lord-Lieutenant said, “This is a very special award presentation. Actually, this is the first time I am giving a sustainable development award. This is a really hard award to get.
“I didn’t know that the Southern Cooperative was founded in Portsmouth in 1873. It was set up in response to social change at the time. It was a business that helped people help themselves. Unfortunately some of these problems still persist today and I believe Southern Cooperative is still helping people here. I’m glad to see you.
“Of course now there are other challenges with the changing climate and declining wildlife, and your response is coming in very strongly. It’s a great job. I’m delighted to read your values and being customer centric is clearly in your DNA.”
The Lord-Lieutenant also commended the cooperative for continuing to achieve the Fair Tax rating and for the efforts of all the company’s colleagues who made the award possible.
Colleagues at the event covered all areas of the cooperative’s work, from end-of-life services to retail sales, headquarters and coffee branches.
Others in attendance Deputy Lieutenant David Frere-Cook Esq, Debbie Tann – CEO of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Welcome Franchisee Richard Dance, Rowena Farr – Customer Success Manager from Neighbourly, Nick Diamond – Business in the Paul Gonella, Community and Strong Island Media, Director of Membership Engagement at Business. Thanks to Hill Farm Juice, one of Southern Co-op’s Local Flavor partners.
Southern Co-op CEO Mark Smith said: “Our principles of sustainable development permeate our entire business, so it is important that we celebrate this achievement with our colleagues across our co-op.
“Our third-party partnerships are also important to us on this journey, as we always achieve so much more when working with others.
“This award is an opportunity for us to celebrate where we have come in our sustainable journey. This award is given to organizations like us that have a true and genuine commitment to being responsible and sustainable, and that demonstrates how this is truly embedded in their business strategy, governance, management, culture and day to day. Don’t decide the day.”
Southern Co-op operates fast food stores, cafes, funeral services and crematoria/natural burial sites in more than 300 locations in the south of England.
It is currently working towards ambitious science-based targets to reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from business by 2030, supported by a climate action pathway and an initial investment of £5.8m of planned activity.
The Queen’s Enterprise Awards are now in its 56th year, with winning businesses able to use the prestigious Queen’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.