East of England Co-op claims top honours at the Hermes Retail Week Supply Chain Awards

The presentation of the Hermes Grand Prix Award to the East of England Co-op at the 2016 Hermes Reta

The presentation of the Hermes Grand Prix Award to the East of England Co-op at the 2016 Hermes Retail Week Supply Chain Awards. - Credit: Archant

The East of England Co-operative Society has claimed top honours at the annual Hermes Retail Week Supply Chain Awards, in recognition of its highly successful Sourced Locally initiative.

The regional retailer, which is based at Wherstead, near Ipswich, and operates across Suffolk, Norfolk and north Essex, first picked up the Arrow XL Collaboration Award, which recognises partnership work among retailers or between retailers and their suppliers.

And the society then also carried off the overall Hermes Grand Prix Award, the recipient of which was selectred from among all 13 category winners at the event.

The East of England Co-op follows a set of principles it refers to as “the three Ps” – a product must make a profit for the producer, be profitable to the retailer, and be available at a price customers are happy to pay.

It launched the Sourced Locally initiative in 2007 and now works with more than 100 local producers around Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, offering customers thousands of locally-made products to choose from in its stores.

It says that, over the past nine years, it has put more than £45m back into the regional economy through fair and honest payments to local producers – supporting the creation of more than 400 new jobs and protecting many more – with the partnership giving suppliers the confidence to invest in new premises, equipment, product development and apprenticeship schemes.

The initiative continues to see year-on-year growth, with the last financial year having seen a 15% increase in sales of local food and drink, taking the annual total to £16.8m.

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Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “The Sourced Locally initiative underpins the belief that whilst profit is vital to every business, organisations can do well and do good.

“We really care about our producers and suppliers and the importance of this relationship is embedded in the whole ethos of the company. We work directly to make sure they are treated as equal partners and that their businesses have a sustainable future.”

The Hermes Retail Week Supply Chain Awards were held at the Hilton Park Lane hotel in London, with the ceremony hosted by television personality and former England rugby star Matt Dawson.