Coles launches ‘Together to Zero’ strategy to drive generational sustainability

As part of its ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, Coles Group is launching a refreshed sustainability strategy built around the pillar of ‘Together to Zero’, commencing with targets to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, commit to 100% renewable electricity and set a course to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Coles Group has today released its Climate Change Position Statement and announced targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the following commitments:

  • to deliver net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050;
  • for the entire Coles Group to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by the end of FY25, building on the progress already made towards this target through renewable power purchase agreements, onsite solar and agreements with renewable electricity generators; and
  • to reduce combined Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75 per cent by the end of FY30 (from a FY20 baseline).

The refreshed strategy and new targets will be brought to life at the launch of Coles’ newest sustainability concept store in Moonee Ponds, Victoria, which has been designed to set a new standard in supermarket sustainability and help Coles create opportunities to reduce its environmental impact into the future.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the launch of ‘Together to Zero’, along with the announcement of the new greenhouse gas reduction and renewable electricity targets were important steps in Coles Group’s mission to drive generational sustainability.

“As part of these targets that we are setting today, we are delighted to introduce ‘Together to Zero’ which underlines our commitment to work together with all stakeholders towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“A key part of our ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket will be reducing our environmental impact, and we have a responsibility to help create a better Australia for future generations.”

Lal Lal Windfarms agreement brings targets closer

Today’s announcement comes as Coles Group has signed an agreement with Lal Lal Wind Farms near Ballarat, Victoria, for the purchase of large-scale generation certificates for renewable electricity until the end of 2030.

Under the agreement, Coles Group will purchase enough large-scale generation certificates from Lal Lal Wind Farms to further increase Coles’ renewable electricity to 45% of total consumption by FY23. Lal Lal Wind Farms has been exporting renewable electricity at full capacity to the Victorian grid since December 2020.

Coles Group is already well on the path to deliver on each of the greenhouse gas emissions targets announced today after becoming the first major Australian retailer to commit to buying renewable electricity through a power purchase agreement in 2019. From July 2022, Coles will also source more than 90% of its Queensland electricity requirements from renewable sources.

“With over 2500 stores and support centres across Australia, more than 118,000 team members and an average of 21 million customer transactions each week, Coles Group is Australia’s 12th largest user of electricity,” Mr Cain said.

“We have already reduced Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 36.5% since 2009, and with these new targets we have an opportunity to play a leading role in driving climate action.

“Our new targets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions commit us to an accelerated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that exceed the climate change ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

“We’re looking forward to working collaboratively with our team members, suppliers, customers and communities to set a pathway toward our long-term goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

Together to Zero – emissions, waste and hunger

In addition to today’s announcement, “Together to Zero” involves a long-term aspiration towards zero emissions, zero waste and zero hunger, with Coles Group constantly striving to find ways to reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Australians in need.

In February, it was announced that Coles would no longer sell single-use plastic tableware products including cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery from 1 July 20211. The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms worth of single-use plastic from landfill each year.

Working with REDcycle since 2011, Coles and its customers have helped collect more than 1.4 billion pieces of soft plastic that have been turned into furniture, playground equipment, roads and most recently used in the construction of Coles supermarket carparks.

Coles this week announced a partnership on a joint feasibility study to determine the technical, economic, and environmental benefits of a local advanced recycling industry in Victoria. This new collaboration marks the first steps into a circular economy for soft plastic packaging.

Coles is committed to helping customers understand what packaging they can recycle and more than 2,800 Coles Brand products now carry the Australasian Recycling logo.

Coles’ community partnerships help Australians in need while driving improved sustainability outcomes, including through food donations equivalent to more than 138 million meals since 2011, as part of Coles’ partnership with food rescue organisation SecondBite.

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