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As part of its ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, Coles Group has launched a national campaign that brings to life and celebrates its recently launched Sustainability Strategy under the pillars of ‘Together to Zero’ and ‘Better Together’.

The campaign, which kicked off on 25 July, highlights Coles’ aspiration towards zero waste, zero emissions and zero hunger, and encourages all Australians to work together to ensure Australia is a better place for future generations.

Together to Zero was first unveiled in March, when Coles announced emissions targets including a commitment to be 100 per cent powered by renewable electricity by the end of FY25, and addresses the Group’s ambition to reduce its impact on the environment.

Having recently stopped selling single-use plastic tableware, Coles has also reviewed the sustainability of its marketing campaigns, and has now also committed to no longer give away plastic collectible toys. Part of Coles’ journey to become more sustainable is to look for opportunities to reduce unnecessary plastic, including in its packaging.

Some of Coles' new reusable and single-use tableware range.
Some of Coles' new reusable and single-use tableware range.

“Coles has been in the lives and homes of Australians for more than 100 years and our unique position in Australia comes with responsibility,” says Lisa Ronson, Coles’ chief marketing officer. 

“We are proud to be now using our marketing platforms to raise awareness of our sustainability ambition, which is focused on acting together now for generations of Australians ahead.

“We are committed to innovating when it comes to packaging so that where we can’t eliminate packaging and plastic, we are ensuring it’s contributing to the circular economy by being produced with recycled content where possible, as well as being recyclable.” 

According to Pip Kiernan, chairman of Clean Up Australia, what we are seeing here is strategy in action by Coles to reduce single-use plastics. 

“Coles is being true to their word that they want to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia and is taking deliberate steps to get there,” says Kiernan.

“It’s simple steps together with our millions of volunteers that powers Clean Up Australia. We are really encouraged to see Coles making meaningful changes to all parts of their business.”

Coles' Together to Zero initiative was first unveiled in March this year.
Coles' Together to Zero initiative was first unveiled in March this year.

As part of its pledge to make packaging more sustainable, Coles has removed 31 million soaker pads from meat trays this year. This means 31 million soaker pads not being sent to landfill.

Coles says it will close the loop on the packaging of some of its most popular instore bakery items by committing to have them made with 100 per cent recycled content in FY22, in addition to already being fully recyclable at kerbside.

The change will apply to 60 million pieces of packaging each year on instore bakery products like cookies, donuts, danishes and muffins. Instead, the packaging will be made from 100 per cent recycled PET. 

Coles Group no longer sells single-use plastic tableware products including cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery. Additionally, in March, Coles announced a joint feasibility study to determine the benefits of a local advanced recycling facility in Victoria.

Advanced recycling offers new life to old soft plastic by turning it back into oil, which can be used to produce new soft plastic food packaging. 

Coles also reaffirmed its commitment to packaging sustainability by joining the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands (ANZPAC) Plastics Pact as a founding member, committed to eliminating unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging, and ensuring 100 per cent of plastic packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. 

Coles is also celebrating 10 years working with food rescue organisation SecondBite and soft plastics recycler REDcycle.

Together, Coles and SecondBite have helped provide the equivalent of more than 151 million meals to Australians in need and, with REDcycle, collected more than 1.5 billion pieces of soft plastics to be used in furniture, children’s playground equipment, roads and even Coles’ carparks.

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