The Midcounties Co-operative and UKCIP’s Adaptation Wizard


Midcounties Co-operative


The Midcounties Co-operative is the largest independent co-operative in the UK with over 470 sites and 245,000 active trading members. Their headquarters are in Warwickshire and their trading heartlands span Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire and the surrounding counties. The Midcounties Co-operative has a broad family of businesses, ranging from their large trading groups of food, travel, pharmacy, funeral and childcare to a collection of Post Offices, energy provision, operating the .coop domain name and providing employee benefits.


This case study summarises the work Midcounties undertook with UKCIP to plan how to adapt to climate change using the methodology outlined in the UKCIP Adaptation Wizard.

The aims

  • To ensure the business can continue to operate as a business in a future climate, and can cope with the logistical, operational and other consequences of climate change.
  • To ensure the business provides clear information and guidance to staff, members and customers on how climate change is going to affect them and the business, and to help them to make informed decisions on climate change.
  • To ensure that the business considers and addresses the mitigation and energy issues associated with adaptation options, and seeks win-win adaptation options that also satisfy carbon and energy reduction objectives.
  • To identify and place the costs of adapting to climate change in the context of the overall savings that could be gained from being better adapted.
  • To generate a prioritised list of climate risks over a range of timescales.
  • To enhance the businesses reputation as a forward-thinking socially and environmentally responsible organisation.
  • To identify risks to properties and ensure that opportunities for incorporating appropriate climate adaptations into ongoing maintenance programmes and refitting strategies are implemented.
  • To ensure the Green Properties Checklist includes consideration of climate risks.
  • To ensure the Greening Together initiative takes account of climate risks.


The challenges


  • Drier summers and wetter winters could result in difficulties in sourcing produce that meet Midcounties high environmental and ethical standards.
  • Retrofitting Midcounties buildings and infrastructure to cope with the impacts of climate change may increase costs in the short term.
  • Adverse weather may cause more members events to be cancelled.


  • Warmer summers could increase viability of UK producers, and so increase the resilience and carbon footprint of Midcounties sourcing.
  • Higher UK summer temperatures could result in more domestic and eco-friendly holidays being taken, and may increase holiday sales during the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn).
  • Hotter summers could increase the market for seasonal illness and sun care products in food stores and pharmacies.


The solutions 

  • A number of possible adaptations have been identified while working through the UKCIP Adaptation Wizard. These have been captured in a separate spreadsheet and provide a starting point for a more formal adaptation options identification process. These potential adaptation options now need to be mapped onto the risk assessment matrix.
  • Midcounties representatives will identify individuals in the business that would be best placed to progress the responses to the climate risks identified in this assessment.
  • Outputs from the work to date will be shared internally, and used to secure any additional resources from Senior Management that may be required to implement climate change adaptations.
  • An Adaptations Options workshop will be held, facilitated by UKCIP, to identify potential adaptations.
  • Midcounties will explore opportunities to public outputs from this work in appropriate internal magazines once further progress has been made.


The results

Although work on climate adaptation planning is ongoing, Midcounties Co-operative is now well placed to mitigate the potential risks from climate change and extreme weather events.

 Learning points

The UKCIP Adaptation Wizard is an effective tool to help organisations of all sizes to identify their climate risks. The tool takes users through a 5-step process that will help you to assess your organisations vulnerability to current climate and future climate change, identify options to address your organ9isations key climate risks, and help you develop and implement a climate change adaptation strategy.

SWM comment

Midcounties Co-operative have recognised the importance of assessing their vulnerability to climate risk and should be commended for the actions they have taken. Businesses of all sizes need to consider these risks and potential disruption to business continuity. UKCIP provide a number of free resources to help businesses to achieve this goal.


For further information on Midcounties Co-operative visit the website or contact Mike Pickering on 01926516109 or email To read more about the wizard, visit the UKCIP website.

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