Together to Zero: Coles launches national sustainability campaign as it commits to no longer give away plastic collectible toys

23 July 2021

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

Commencing Sunday 25th July, the campaign 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% powered by renewable electricity by the end of FY25, and addresses Coles Group’s ambition to reduce its impact on the environment.

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

Coles will continue to explore reward programs that inspire and offer value to customers, such as the recent MasterChef cookware campaign which provides practical items for customers to use in their homes, or more sustainable items such as last year’s popular Little Treehouse book series made from FSC certified paper.

Coles Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson said while collectible toy programs like Little Shop and Stikeez have been popular with customers in the past, they no longer align with Coles’ sustainability ambitions or with customers’ preferences and priorities.

“Coles has been in the lives and homes of Australians for more than 100 years and our unique position in Australia comes with responsibility,” Ms Ronson said.

“As part of our Together to Zero mission, we’ve been reviewing our marketing campaigns through a sustainability lens. While very popular, we must listen to our customers who say their priorities are changing. In a recent survey of 9,000 of our customers, reducing waste to landfill and plastic packaging was the number one concern when it comes to environmental issues in retail, with 69% of those surveyed saying it was of high importance to them1. We know that customers will understand the need to ensure our campaigns are more sustainable for future generations.

“We are proud to be now using our marketing platforms to raise awareness of our sustainability ambition which is focussed on acting together now for generations of Australians ahead. We are on a journey and understand our responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint and to show leadership in protecting our planet and climate.

“Our ambition is to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket which means we need to be committed to reducing unnecessary plastic, and this extends throughout our business. 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.”

Chairman of Clean Up Australia Pip Kiernan said 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. 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,” Ms Kiernan said.

Coles is making progress on reducing unnecessary plastic and waste

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 will close the loop on the packaging of some of its most popular instore bakery items by committing to have them made with 100% 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% Recycled PET, a sustainable solution that also requires less energy to manufacture per kilogram than virgin PET, further contributing to a decrease in the environmental footprint.

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 Plastics Pact (ANZPAC) 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 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.

Coles Together to Zero Sustainability Strategy

1 Coles Circle survey in June 2021

Together to Zero: Coles launches national sustainability campaign as it commits to no longer give away plastic collectible toys

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