Woolworths Group

RATING

SECTOR

Retail

WEBSITE

CONTACT

Woolworths Group Headquarters

1 Woolworths Way

Bella Vista New South Wales 2153

Australia

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

  • FTSE4Good Emerging Index

  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index – Bronze Class

  • FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index

  • CDP Climate B Rating, CDP Water B Rating, CDP Forests [C Rating in Timber, B Rating in Palm Oil, C Rating in Cattle Products, C Rating in Soy]

EMPLOYEES

196,000

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Adrian Cullen

AWARDS

  • Business Benchmark for Animal Welfare (BBFAW) Tier 3 Rating
  • Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) Good Egg Award in 2019

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Woolworths Group

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Woolworths Group Ltd, formerly Woolworths Limited, is an Australia-based company, which is engaged in retail operations. Woolworths Group manages some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most recognised and trusted brands. The Woolworths Group consists of three core businesses: Australian Food, New Zealand Food, Endeavour Group.

Australian Food – It is Australia’s largest supermarket chain and operates 1,024 supermarkets across the country. Australian Food also includes FoodCo, Metro and WooliesX.

New Zealand Food – Countdown branded supermarket chain has 180 supermarkets across New Zealand, serving around three million customers every week. New Zealand food also includes CountdownX and franchise FreshChoice and SuperValue Supermarkets.

Endeavour Group – Endeavour Drinks comprises 1,576 stores, including the Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Cellarmasters and Langton’s brands.

Portfolio Businesses:

The BIG W provides Australians with great value across 183 stores, as well as online choices for general merchandise.

The ALH Group is a market leader, operating 328 hotels, including bars, dining, gaming, accommodation and venue hire operations.

Company Sustainable Activity

Woolworths Group Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2020 outlines 20 corporate responsibility and sustainability goals and commitments, to be achieved by 2020, based on People, Planet, Prosperity. The targets assigned under People, Planet and Prosperity pillars cover Woolworths Group’s engagement with customers, communities, supply chain and team members, as well as their responsibility to minimise the environmental impact of their operations.

People (8 Targets for 2020):

  • At least 40 percent of executive and senior manager positions to be held by women.
  • No salary wage gap between male and female employees of equivalent positions on a per hour rate at all levels of the company, with a step change improvement in closing any gaps by the end of FY17.
  • 100 percent of those responsible for hiring new team members to have completed unconscious bias training.
  • Continue the focus on driving cultural diversity, with a commitment that by 2020 the Woolworths Group team will truly reflect the communities we serve.
  • Proportion of Indigenous team members to equal Federal Government Employment Parity contract. Once achieved, 2 percent of our Store Operations team members will be Indigenous
  • Proportion of Indigenous graduates to equal Federal Government Employment Parity contract. Once achieved, 2 percent of our Graduates will be Indigenous.
  • Achieve Gold Tier employer status in Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) inclusion.
  • We are committed to maintaining a workplace that safeguards the health and wellbeing of our people, customers and visitors.

Planet (6 Targets for 2020):

  • Towards zero food waste going to landfill.
  • Improve the recyclability of our Own Brand packaging and contribute to the circular economy.
  • Source key raw materials and commodities sustainably to an independent standard by 2020. We will raise awareness of sustainably sourced products.
  • Achieve net zero supply chain deforestation for our ‘high-impact’ commodities in our Own Brand products, such as palm oil, timber, pulp and paper, and packaging.
  • Reduce Woolworths’ carbon emissions to 10 percent below 2015 levels.
  • Innovate with natural refrigerants and reduce refrigerant leakage in our stores by 15 percent of CO2-e below 2015 levels.

Prosperity (6 Targets for 2020):

  • We will achieve a top quartile ranking in how we engage fairly and equitably with our suppliers as measured by independent supplier surveys.
  • We will focus on a best practice compliance system according to the Global Social Compliance Program. We will collaborate with peak organisations to improve workers’ lives.
  • Invest the equivalent of 1 percent of a three year rolling average of total Group Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) in community partnerships and programs.
  • We will publicly report social impact to quantify the positive changes we are creating with a focus on health, economic development and emergency relief.
  • We will achieve leading customer satisfaction scores.
  • We will inspire our customers to consume all of our products in a healthy, sustainable way.

Certificates

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Sustainable Development Goals

How company covers SDGs

The Woolworths Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2020 is aligned to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG 1 No Poverty:

Commitment 16 – We will develop a best practice compliance system according to the Global Social Compliance Program. We will collaborate with peak organisations to improve workers’ lives. 

SDG 2 Zero Hunger:

Commitment 9 – Towards zero food waste going to landfill.

SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing:

Commitment 20 – We will inspire our customers to consume all of our products in a healthy, sustainable way.

SDG 5 Gender Equality:

Commitment 1 – At least 40 percent of executive and senior manager positions to be held by women. 

Commitment 2 – No salary wage gap between male and female employees of equivalent positions on a per-hour rate at all levels of the company, with a step change improvement in closing any gaps by the end of FY17.

SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy:

Commitment 13 – Reduce Woolworths’ carbon emissions to 10 per cent below 2015 levels.

Commitment 14 – Innovate with natural refrigerants and reduce refrigerant leakage in our stores by 15 percent of CO2-e below 2015 levels.

Commitment 15 – We will achieve a top quartile ranking in how we engage fairly and equitably with our suppliers as measured by independent supplier surveys.

Commitment 16 – We will develop a best practice compliance system according to the Global Social Compliance Program. We will collaborate with peak organisations to improve workers’ lives.

SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth:

Commitment 3 – 100 percent of those responsible for hiring new team members to have completed unconscious bias training.

Commitment 4 – Continue the focus on driving cultural diversity, with a commitment that by 2020 the Woolworths Group team will truly reflect the communities we serve.

Commitment 7 – We are committed to maintaining a workplace that safeguards the health and wellbeing of our people, customers and visitors.

Commitment 8 – Achieve Gold Tier employer status in Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) inclusion.

SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities:

Commitment 5 – Proportion of Indigenous team members to equal Federal Government Employment Parity contract. Once achieved, 2 percent of our Store Operations team members will be Indigenous.

Commitment 6 – Proportion of Indigenous Graduates to equal Federal Government Employment Parity contract. Once achieved, 2 percent of our Graduates will be Indigenous.

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production:

Commitment 9 – Towards zero food waste going to landfill.

Commitment 10 – Improve the recyclability of our Own Brand packaging and contribute to the circular economy.

Commitment 11 – Source key raw materials and commodities sustainably to an independent standard by 2020. We will raise awareness of sustainably sourced products.

SDG 13 Climate Action:

Commitment 13 – Reduce Woolworths’ carbon emissions to 10 per cent below 2015 levels.

Commitment 14 – Innovate with natural refrigerants and reduce refrigerant leakage in our supermarkets by 15 percent of CO2-e below 2015 levels.

SDG 15 Life on Land:

Commitment 12 – Achieve net zero supply chain deforestation for ‘high-impact’ commodities in our Own Brand products, such as palm oil, timber, pulp and paper, and packaging.

SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals:

Commitment 17 – We will invest the equivalent of 1 percent of a three year rolling average of total Group Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) in community partnerships and programs.

Commitment 18 – We will publicly report social impact to quantify the positive changes we are creating with a focus on health, economic development and emergency relief.

Progress

According to the company

  • People:

“Gender Equity – To encourage greater numbers of women in Woolworths’ management, by 2020 their goal is ‘At least 40 percent of executive and senior manager positions to be held by women.’ As a business, they are committed to improving representation of women in management roles by building a pipeline of strong female talent across all areas of their organisation. Initiatives to drive this include setting women in management targets, partnering with Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) to sponsor Masters degrees for selected high potential women, and senior executives signing up to the Gender Parity Pledge as part of International Women’s Day. 

Moving on, another of the Group’s 2020 goals is ‘No salary wage gap between male and female employees of equivalent positions on a per hour rate at all levels of the company, with a step change improvement in closing any gaps by the end of FY17.’ Woolworths is undertaking extensive work and analysis to understand any salary wage gaps. They have developed a diversity and inclusion strategy and remuneration principles to drive improvement in this area.

Embracing Diversity –  To achieve this, Woolworths is focused on ensuring their team members, and especially their store teams, are reflective of the communities they are serving. Their 2020 goal is to ‘Continue the focus on driving cultural diversity, with a commitment that by 2020 the Woolworths Group team will truly reflect the communities we serve’.

Achieving this goal will require their hiring teams to make objective, inclusive decisions. The 2020 goal is that ‘100 percent of those responsible for hiring new team members to have completed unconscious bias training’. The Group has already trialled unconscious bias training, which will be rolled out across their Talent Acquisition, Store Operations and Support Office leadership teams. 

Indigenous Representation – To create the best opportunities for employment, Woolworths entered into a contract with the Federal Government as part of the Employment Parity Initiative. This initiative will result in Woolworths adding 1,600 new Indigenous team members to their business over three years. Their 2020 goal is to achieve ‘Proportion of Indigenous team members to equal Federal Government Employment Parity contract. Once achieved, 2 percent of our Store Operations team members will be Indigenous’.

Woolworths will seek Indigenous graduates and work closely with universities and Indigenous communities to build relationships and ‘reasons’ for Indigenous graduates to choose a career with Woolworths. Their 2020 goal is to achieve the ‘Proportion of Indigenous graduates to equal Federal Government Employment Parity contract. Once achieved, 2 percent of our Graduates will be Indigenous’.

LGBTI Community Support – Woolworths has joined the Pride in Diversity program for employers to support all aspects of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and/or Intersex (LGBTI) inclusion. In recognition of the growing movement to address LGBTI issues and equality in the workplace, Woolworths has a goal that by 2020 they will ‘Achieve Gold Tier employer status in Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) inclusion’.

Health and Safety – The Group’s vision is to become one of the safest places to work and shop and ‘We are committed to maintaining a workplace that safeguards the health and wellbeing of our people, customers and visitors’. Their aspiration is ‘Destination ZERO’, a place where every day people go home free from injuries or illness. They use annual team surveys as a way to measure the impact of their ‘Destination ZERO’ policies, and strive for continuous improvement.

  • Planet:

Moving to a Circular Economy – The Group’s target is ‘Towards zero food waste going to landfill’. Every year until 2020, they will achieve a year-on-year increase in tonnes of food waste diverted from landfill. This will be done through continuing reduction in stock loss, improving store waste management behaviour and improving the effectiveness of the farmers’ program and the food rescue program. 

Additionally, their farmer and food rescue programs complement reducing their carbon footprint while also adding value to the communities.

And lastly, the Group has a target to ‘Improve the recyclability of our Own Brand packaging and contribute to the circular economy’. Woolworths will decrease non-recyclable packaging and increase recycled content, for example, working towards the elimination of expanded polystyrene and progressively phasing out expanded polystyrene by 2020.

Environmentally Responsible Sourcing – The Group commits to sourcing all their fish and seafood from independently verified or third party certified sources (e.g. MSC and ASC certified), obtaining sugar certification for all Own Brand products (Bonsucro/WWF) and sustainability certification for all Own Brand tea, coffee and chocolate by 2020. They have a target to ‘Source key raw materials and commodities sustainably to an independent standard by 2020. We will raise awareness of sustainably sourced products’.

Raising Awareness of Sustainably Sourced Products – ‘We will raise awareness of sustainably sourced products’. The Group commits to inspire sustainable living choices through the products they offer, supported by social marketing and behavioural change programs.

Animal Welfare – The company continues to be the leading Australian retailer on animal welfare, and constantly strive to work responsibly to progress and influence best practice in the responsible sourcing of dairy, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, pork and aquaculture products.

Protecting Forests –  The Group has a target to ‘Achieve net zero supply chain deforestation for our ‘high-impact’ commodities in our Own Brand products, such as palm oil, timber, pulp and paper, and packaging’. This target focuses on Woolworths’ Own Brand products. It will be achieved by a combination of sourcing from independently-certified sustainable supply chains, and where this option is not feasible, using credible offsetting schemes. Woolworths has been a signatory to the CGF Deforestation Resolution of 2010 for achieving net zero deforestation by 2020 from sourcing commodities like palm oil, beef, timber, paper and board. Woolworths achieved 100 per cent Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) sustainable palm oil in our Own Brand food products in 2015.

Responding to Climate Change – The company will use science-based targets to assess the impacts of a two degree world and examine their applicability to the Group. They will also investigate further cost-effective investment in renewable energy as technology and commercial opportunities evolve. Their immediate target is to ‘Reduce Woolworths’ carbon emissions to 10 per cent below 2015 levels.

The Group is continually identifying, researching, trialling and implementing energy-efficient and low carbon technology. $188 million has been invested in projects since 2009 and has delivered an estimated $189 million in operational cost savings to date. Energy used per store by Australian supermarkets opened in 2015 is a very significant 30 per cent less than those opened in 2008.

A suite of engineering initiatives were rolled out, including replacement of synthetic refrigerants by carbon dioxide, the introduction of a range of refrigerant plant energy efficiency improvements, the introduction of LED lighting across all refrigerated showcases, and improvements in refrigeration and air-conditioning plants. Project Enlighten was established in 2015 in order to generate energy efficiency savings through a strong focus on the installation of LED lighting, along with investments in refrigeration and air-conditioning improvements. Further investments have included the installation of 25 solar power systems across a range of trading stores. These solar sites have a total capacity of more than 1.2MW and generated 1560MWh of renewable energy in 2016.

Refrigerant Management – The Group’s 2020 target is to ‘Innovate with natural refrigerants and reduce refrigerant leakage in our stores by 15 percent of CO2-e below 2015 levels.’ This target will be achieved by targeted leakage reduction initiatives and by replacing existing refrigeration systems with hybrid (R134a and CO2) or HFC-free systems.

To date they have installed hybrid refrigeration systems in 226 stores in Australia and New Zealand. This eliminated high ozone-depleting-potential refrigerants in these stores and has significantly reduced the global warming potential of the alternative refrigerants used at these stores (from 3,300 to 850 per tonne).

By 2020, the Group will install ten natural systems employing technologies such as transcritical CO2 or water loop. In their New Zealand Countdown business they have already installed one transcritical CO2 system and plan to introduce another four. In Australia they will further develop their organisational capacity and plan to pilot two transcritical CO2 HFC-free natural refrigeration systems in greenfield supermarkets in 2017.

Building Capacity in Suppliers – The Group will work with its suppliers to build capacity on managing climate change risks with an initial focus on water.

  • Prosperity:

Rebuilding Strong Relationships with Suppliers – Woolworths’ management of supplier relationships receives high levels of scrutiny. They have had some success with the establishment of their ‘Good Buyer and Supplier Principles’ in the Endeavour Drinks Group. Yet across the Group, they recognise that they must continue to improve. Their Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2020 and new brand purpose are working hand in hand to rebuild trust

An ambitious target has been set for 2020 that ‘We will achieve a top quartile ranking in how we engage fairly and equitably with our suppliers as measured by independent supplier surveys’. In support of this target they are moving to Biannual Surveys and have developed a bimonthly ‘Voice of Supplier’ pulse survey. This will support closer, more timely feedback to enable improved relationships with suppliers.

Improving Workers’ Lives – The Group has a long-established ethical sourcing policy and they expect all suppliers to comply with this policy. Before they supply products, the Group audits Own Brand factories based on the human rights risk of countries and product categories and publishes the breakdown of the severity levels of corrective actions from these audits

The Group’s goal is that ‘We will focus on a best practice compliance system according to the Global Social Compliance Program. We will collaborate with peak organisations to improve workers’ lives’. Woolworths will develop supporting guidelines, instruction on key risks, continuous risk monitoring, clear governance, roles and accountabilities, supplier engagement, follow-up audits and regular reviews.

Collaborating for a Change – In addition to the development of a best practice compliance program the Group has set an additional goal. ‘We will collaborate with peak organisations to improve workers’ lives’.

Focus on Customer Satisfaction – The Group recognises that trust, and being valued as a customer, are the cornerstones of their customers’ satisfaction. They commit to continue innovating for customers to deliver value for money while contributing to the community. Their target for 2020 is ‘We will achieve leading customer satisfaction scores’. The company will track their progress by reporting customer satisfaction metrics.

Inspiring Healthy Choices – The Group’s target for 2020 is ‘We will inspire our customers to consume all of our products in a healthy, sustainable way.’ Woolworths will develop the Affordable Healthy Eating Index based on their customers’ shopping habits and will support their customers to make healthier food choices through providing inspiration, knowledge and making it easier and more affordable to eat good food. The company will continue to invest in developing products that improve the nutritional balance of their Own Brand portfolio. They are committed to providing clear and transparent labelling, not using additives their customers have asked them to remove, and improving the nutritional profile of products to make healthier choices easier.

Supporting Communities – The Group uses their resources and skills to partner with the communities that they are part of to improve the health and well-being of their customers, creating employment opportunities for young Australians and New Zealanders, and supporting communities facing natural disasters with emergency relief and post-disaster recovery. Some of their initiatives include Free Fruit for Kids, Earn and Learn, S.T.A.N.D, White Ribbon and programs with their food rescue partners such as OzHarvest and Foodbank. Their target is to ‘Invest the equivalent of 1 percent of a three year rolling average of total Group Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) in community partnerships and programs’. In addition to Woolworths’ direct contribution to community partnerships, they help customers contribute directly to charitable organisations.

Reporting on the Social Impacts for Community – The Group will manage their community investments under a best practice social accounting framework, such as the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) methodology, to ensure that they meet the set targets. The 2020 target is ‘We will publicly report social impact to quantify the positive changes we are creating with a focus on health, economic development and emergency relief.’”

Woolworths is a leader in sustainability initiatives, especially after selling its share in the oil business. It has received recognition and ratings from most recognised listings like DJSI, FTSE4GOOD, CDP, and has even received some other awards that validate their leadership. Woolworths has a clear track of their sustainability activities, GHG and CO2 emissions, energy consumption. It has plans to have 100% of all own‑brand packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, it also committed to a new reduction target of 60% less than 2015 direct emission levels by 2030. Therefore, based on all their above actions, initiatives, results, and recognition, the Woolworths Group is given a B rating.

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