Coles beefs up sustainability

Together to Zero

Coles is the first major Australian supermarket to launch a certified own brand carbon neutral beef product.

The beef range, available in Victorian stores this week with a national rollout over the next 12 months, is certified carbon neutral from paddock to shelf to the Australian Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. 

The packaging for the new beef range is fully recyclable and made from 90 per cent recycled and plant-based sources, an Australian innovation by Coles’ packaging partner Plantic.

Steven Cain Coles Chief Executive Officer said the launch of the beef range was an example of Coles working with suppliers to achieve better sustainability outcomes.

“When we announced our Sustainability Strategy just over a year ago, we said we’d work with all our stakeholders to achieve our Together to Zero emissions ambitions and to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket,” he said.

“As part of our ongoing sustainability journey, Coles is exploring further opportunities to partner with our suppliers on sustainability initiatives.” 

Delatite Station cattle farmers Mark and Fenella Ritchie have been supplying Coles for 10 years and are now among the beef producers working to deliver certified carbon neutral beef. 

“We are always looking to produce the finest quality beef with a strong commitment to environmental and animal welfare values that are backed up with an evidence-based approach to our decision making,” Mark said.

As part of the carbon neutral beef program, Coles works with farmers to identify ways to reduce emissions from their operations, such as using renewable energy, changing herd management practices for more efficient reproduction and to maximise growth, and use of genetic selection to improve herd health.

Over the past two years, Coles has been working with Dr Stephen Wiedemann, Principal Research Scientist at Integrity Ag & Environment, to study innovative ways tree planting and vegetation can help reduce net carbon emissions on beef farms through carbon sequestration.

Carbon stored in trees is then included in the farm’s ‘carbon account’ and reduces the overall emissions associated with the farm’s production – a process known as carbon ‘insetting,’ in which the process of reducing emissions is carried out at or directly related to their source.

Coles is also purchasing Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) from the Armoobilla Regeneration Project in south-west Queensland to cover emissions that fall outside the scope of the insetting measures, such as those involved in processing and transporting the beef to stores, ensuring that the range achieves carbon neutral status.

Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef will carry the Climate Active stamp to help customers identify the certified beef on shelves.

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