by Karin Christiansen, Co-operative Party General Secretary and LCID Advisory Board member
The Co-op was the first retailer in the UK to sell Fairtrade bananas and the first retailer in the world to carry the Fairtrade mark on its own brand products.
Its this commitment to Fairtrade, along with its support for progressive causes and because its owned by its members and not shareholders, that leads many of us go out of our way to shop at the Co-op.
But the Co-op could be about to break the century-old political link with the Co-operative Party which together with the Labour party has worked to support fair trade aboard and at home. The Co-op Party used its political representation to ensure that 590 Town Halls signed up to become Fairtrade Towns.
The Co-operative Party has launched the Keep it Co-op campaign which calls on the Co-op Group to keep the link and stay true to its ethics and progressive values.
You can support the campaign and check if you are one of the 2.6 million people who can vote to keep the link by visiting keepit.coop.