• The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
    The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
  • The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
    The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
  • The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
    The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
  • The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
    The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.
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The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligns to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said Coles’ purpose to sustainably feed all Australians to help them lead healthier, happier lives is aligned with and supports the SDGs of zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water and life on land.

Single-use plastic tableware off the shelves

The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.

A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year. The items have now been replaced with a wide range of alternatives including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified tableware like timber cutlery and paper plates and reusable options.

Chair of Clean Up Australia Pip Kiernan said it was heartening to see the move. “These items are not recyclable, they are designed to be used once and discarded, going to landfill and many ending up in our environment as litter. Last year our volunteers reported that over half of all items they collected were plastic or contained plastic,” she said.

The Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said: “We welcome Coles’ leadership, providing their customers alternatives to single use plastic tableware products, which will result in an annual diversion of 1.5 million kilograms of single use plastic from landfill.”

Better together for food and beverages

Meanwhile, Better Together is centred on the notion that when working together Coles, suppliers and customers can make a real difference to the communities in which they work and live.  It sets out the framework to create a team, community, sourcing and farming that is better together.

Cain said, “We are not working alone. Our relationships with our team members, shareholders, farmers, suppliers, partners, customers and communities drive our sustainability agenda forward. We want to win together in the best interests of all, including through our Australian First Sourcing Policy.

The Better Together pillar of its sustainability strategy includes commitments to make it easier for customers to buy affordable healthier foods by:

  • improving the nutritional values of Coles Brand products by meeting the federal government’s Health Food Partnership targets for salt, saturated fat and sugar;
  • ensuring Coles Brand foods and drinks are free from artificial colours and flavours;
  • expanding the Coles Brand range of plant-based and alternative protein products;
  • increased marketing and innovation to grow our key health and lifestyle brands; and
  • using the Health Star Rating on eligible Coles Brand products for transparent labelling.

In terms of sustainability within its supply chain, the group said it would be working with farmers, suppliers and industry partners to have a positive environmental impact including establishing sustainable partnerships and the responsible sourcing of seafood in Coles Brand products and maintaining focus on responsibly sourced palm oil, timber, tea, coffee, cocoa and sugar cane.

Coles also said it was aspiring to improve its score in the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare and grow its proportion of Coles Brand products with cage-free eggs as ingredients targeting completion by 2025.

Emissions and sustainability targets

The release of Coles Group’s full Sustainability Strategy brings together its Together to Zero and Better Together initiatives and aligned to nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key announcement was the removal of single-use plastic tableware from its shelves from 1 July. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill every year.

The group announced Together to Zero in March, stating its emissions targets and a commitment to be 100 per cent powered by renewable electricity by the end of FY25. It said that from July 2022, more than 90 per cent of its Queensland electricity requirements would come from renewable sources. It also outlined aspirations for zero emissions, waste, and hunger. 

The announcement coincided with announcing its partnership on a joint feasibility study to develop a circular economy for soft plastic packaging (see story in stablemate PKN).

In April it announced deals with Engie and Neoen to buy large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) that will cover more than 70 per cent of the renewable energy it needs to meet the FY25 target

Sustainability Strategy Snapshop

Under the Together to Zero pillar, Coles Group is committed to:

  • climate action, supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD);
  • achieving net zero emissions by 2050, sourcing 100% renewable electricity by the end of FY25 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its value chain;
  • a circular economy and optimising resources by supporting and creating end-markets to use recovered materials including those collected through initiatives such as the REDcycle soft plastic collection program available in all Coles supermarkets;
  • closing the loop by using recycled content in product packaging to create an end-market for recycled materials, particularly plastic packaging;
  • diverting 85% of waste from landfill by FY25; and
  • focus on reducing food waste where the first choice for unsold, edible food is to donate it to food rescue organisations such as SecondBite and Foodbank.

Driving the delivery of the 2025 National Packaging Targets ensuring that by 2025:

  • all Coles Brand packaging will be 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable;
  • across Coles Brand packaging, there will be an average of 50 per cent recycled content;
  • all Coles Brand packaging will carry the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL);
  • problematic and unnecessary single use plastics packaging will be phased out for all Coles Brand products;

It also set commitments to:

  • achieve a gender balanced workforce;
  • recognise and enable people with all kinds of abilities;
  • champion LGBTQI+ inclusion;
  • provide more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, suppliers, customers and communities to engage with the business; and
  • build strong, resilient communities aiming to help Australians in times of need;

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PKN’s Nov/Dec 2021 issue is once again packed with latest stories from the world of packaging, shining a light on the latest news, trends and developments in sustainability, e-commerce packaging, packaging innovation, and pack printing and decoration.