Supermarket Giants Race to Net Zero, Beating the Do-Nothing Australian Government

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Whereas Australia’s federal government will not commit to a net-zero-by-2050 target, the three biggest supermarket chains in Australia are making massive strides towards sustainability. Woolworths, Coles, and Aldi not only have targets but are putting their words into actions, and that includes buying a lot of solar panels. 

Woolies going 100 percent renewable
Woolies commits to 100% green electricity by 2025. Photo by David Waterworth.

By the end of this year, Aldi will have installed more than 104,000 solar panels across 274 stores and six distribution centers. Their sustainability aims include sending zero food waste to landfills by 2023, trialing natural refrigerant technology and innovative design, reducing plastics by a quarter, optimizing water use, and introducing more sustainable packaging. LEDs alone have led to a 50% reduction in energy use. 

Coles is a little further behind — expecting to be fully powered by renewables by 2025. As well as using LED lighting, Coles is using some low-tech means of energy conservation — like night blinds on freezers and doors on refrigerated shelving. They are upgrading refrigeration pipes, detecting and sealing leaks. Coles donates unsold food to SecondBite to help provide meals for vulnerable Australians. A range of animal refuges and zoos also benefit from donated produce. 

Fiona Walmsley, Woolworths Group Head of Sustainability Governance, said: “We’ve made good progress in reducing our emissions by almost a quarter over the past five years, with the rollout of solar and energy efficiency programs.”

Shorter term goals for Australia’s biggest supermarket chain include 100% use of renewable energy and zero food to landfill by 2025. Woolworths is also aiming for net zero supply chain deforestation for high-impact commodities in its own brand products — like palm oil, timber, pulp and paper, and packaging — by 2025.

The supermarket giants are not being shy about their achievements and future targets, advertising them at their stores and on mass media. Hopefully when Mrs. Morrison and Mrs. Taylor go shopping they will get the message and take it home to Scott and Angus and we will have a kitchen-led climate change revolution.

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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 748 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth