About 360,000 tonnes of waste has been diverted from landfill in the past year, as part of Woolworths Group’s drive to ‘grow greener’.
The Australian retail giant diverted 80 per cent of its waste, equivalent to the waste generated by 320,000 households, according to its annual Sustainability Report, released 6 September.
The Group recorded a significant drop in emissions and helped feed Australians in need, with the equivalent of 22 million meals of surplus edible food saved from landfill and donated to food relief partners.
“The steps we take to become a more sustainable business today will create a better tomorrow for generations to come,” said Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group Chief Executive.
“We know there’s much more to do and we’re laying the groundwork for an era of accelerated sustainability to meet the pace of our customer’s and team’s expectations, and the climate clock.
“It’s no longer enough to just reduce our impact on the planet. Instead, we’re turning to how we can use our scale for good and create positive change for our planet, and in turn, our communities.”
The Group’s Sustainability Plan 2025, released last November, steps up the pace for the company’s sustainability action and sets a long-term commitment to take more carbon out of the atmosphere than the company produces by 2050.
In the past year, the Woolworths Group helped take the equivalent of more than 35,000 cars off the road, by cutting an additional 97,000 tonnes of CO2e, and expanded its solar network to 100,000 panels, creating the capacity to generate the amount of electricity needed to power more than 7000 homes. The network is made up of almost 200 sites, including 132 Woolworths stores.
The removal of plastic-stemmed cotton buds in favour of paper and sugarcane alternatives saved almost 500 million pieces of plastic yearly. On top of more than 2500 tonnes of plastic removed from Woolworths’ own brand and fresh packaging – equivalent to the weight of four A380 aircraft.
Alex Holt, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Woolworths Group, said the past 12 months had been a “foundational year”.
“We’re setting our teams up to ensure sustainability is core to what we do – from stores to distribution centres, support offices and supply chains,” Holt said.
The report states Woolworths signed its first renewable energy deal in the past 12 months and is the first Australian retailer to have its climate targets scientifically validated by the global Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.
The Group is the only Australian retailer to feature on the CDP’s global Climate A List for environmental action and disclosure.