Coles sets out its new approach to sustainability

Date : 19 March 2021

Nick Miles

Head of Insight - Asia Pacific

Coles has released a new climate change position statement, a refreshed sustainability strategy and launched its newest next generation sustainable supermarket at Moonee Ponds, Melbourne.

Accelerating its efforts against climate change

The new statement showcases Coles' commitment and governance as a leading Australian business to tackle climate change. Alongside this its refresh sustainability strategy, named 'Together to Zero', sets out some ambitious targets to tackle climate change and will see the retailer accelerate its efforts in this space. Targets including:

  • Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
  • Coles Group to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by the end of FY25
  • Reduce combined Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75 per cent by the end of FY30 (from a FY20 baseline)

Coles also revealed that its has signed a new deal with a wind farm near Ballarat in Victoria to provide renewable energy until the end of 2030. This will help Coles ensure that 45% of its total electricity consumption is from renewable sources by the end of FY23. Some states are already more advanced in this area than others, for example, 90% of Queensland operations are already due to be powered by renewable electricity by July 2022, so bringing the whole business up to similar levels over the coming years will be a priority.

Focus on three areas; emissions, waste and hunger

As part of its Winning Together strategic pillar, Coles has committed to drive generational sustainability and it plans to work with all of its partners and stakeholders to achieve its targets. As well as tackling emissions, the new 'Together to zero' sustainability strategy also targets zero waste and zero hunger. In terms of waste, Coles has already committed to stop settling single use plastic tableware products by July 2021, continues to work with REDcycle to repurpose soft plastics and will continue to help educate customers on which packaging can be recycled, with 2,800 Coles Brand products now displaying the Australasian Recycling logo. In terms of hunger, it will continue to use partnerships and food donations to help feed Australian's in need.

New store sets benchmark for sustainability and innovation

The new strategy has been brought to life by a new 'Together to Zero' logo and the retailer's newest sustainability concept store in Moonee Ponds. The store displays the new standard for the retailer in terms of sustainability and will help Coles create opportunities to reduce its environmental impact in the future.

Some of the most exciting innovations in-store include; new refill stations for household and personal care items, trials of misting and cold plates to remove packaging on certain products while maintaining freshness and quality, reduced plastics in produce, a fruit and veg bar to prepare and juice products to order.

Source: Coles

The store's roof has a rainwater harvest system, it is the first Coles renewal store to be upgraded with a natural refrigeration solution virtually eliminating greenhouse gas emission from refrigerant gases. All fridges have doors to reduce energy usage, while waste heat is captured to heat the store.

Source: Coles

Leftover edible food is donated to food rescue organisation SecondBite and distributed to local community organisations. While the store is also supporting local schools, sports clubs and charities with donations and initiatives. In fact, nothing has been left out, with even Coles team member polo shirts in-store made from 65% recycled bottles. For a full list of all the initaitives check out the Coles press release