When Woolworths final yr jettisoned its liquor, accommodations and gaming firm subsidiary, Endeavour, it insisted the transfer was not pushed by the need to reinforce its social/moral credentials. Now that Coles is ditching its portfolio of 700 gas stations and comfort shops, it’s additionally insisting the transfer has nothing to do with enhancing its environmental scorecard.
Nonetheless, Coles and Woolworths, which divested its gas/comfort websites in 2019 after an arduous gross sales course of, are actually each out of that recreation. Whereas their exit seems extra an accident than design, what’s clear is that the 2 giants of the native grocery store sector are eager to burnish their ESG (environmental, social, governance) bona fides.
So far as the de facto race on ESG is worried, Woolworths is effectively out forward of Coles, which retains a big liquor enterprise. And there’s no suggestion that Coles has the urge for food to divest the bottle outlets.
Bottle outlets have been difficult challenge for Woolworths as effectively. It obtained a painful black eye final yr for an earlier plan to construct an alcohol mega retailer in Darwin near a lot of Indigenous ‘dry’ zones.
The retailer appeared painfully conscious of its snafu and was fulsome in its apology. It commissioned a panel to report on the in the end deserted growth, which discovered the corporate had failed to satisfy neighborhood expectations and totally think about the social and public impacts.
That stated, the supermarkets are in pole place to drive environmental enhancements throughout their operations and market their manufacturers as community-friendly.
Coles launched its Sustainability Report on Tuesday, wherein it outlined that it has donated the equal of 37.5 million meals to Aussies in want over the course of the 2022 monetary yr.
Its Coles’ highest ever annual complete, up from 35 million meals a yr earlier, and it’s model gold.