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Australia’s biggest supermarkets celebrated World Environment Day on Friday by announcing more sustainability initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a greener future.

Over the past 12 months Coles has made further progress on its commitments to increase the proportion of energy it sources from renewables and implement more sustainable processes across its stores, according to its chief property and export officer, Thinus Keeve.

“By using energy more efficiently and investing in renewable energy projects, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 35 per cent since 2009, including a six per cent reduction in the 2019 financial year alone,” Keeve said.

Coles has installed solar panels on 38 supermarkets since June 2019, increasing the total number of on-site solar electricity generation facilities to 68.

Construction has also commenced on three new solar power plants based in regional New South Wales, from which Coles will purchase the equivalent of 10% of its national electricity consumption.

In the past two months Coles has also opened two of its most sustainable supermarkets with Coles Local in Melbourne’s Hawthorn and Sydney’s Rose Bay.

These stores feature team member uniforms made from 65 per cent recycled bottles, trolleys made partly from recycled plastic and free reclaimed customer carry boxes as an alternative to bags. Coles plans to roll these sustainability initiatives to more of its stores over the coming months.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the supermarket is passionate about creating a greener future.

“While we’ve made pleasing progress in reducing the amount of plastic in our stores, supported recycling labelling initiatives, and made improvements in energy efficiency, sustainable sourcing and reducing food waste, we know there is still much more to be done to meet our customers and our own aspirations,” he said.

Since Woolworths removed single-use plastic bags in 2018, more than 6 billion bags have been taken out of circulation.

Last week, Woolworths began offering paper shopping bags, made out of 70% recycled paper, for customers to purchase.

In the past year, approximately 10,600 shopping trolleys worth of soft plastics have been recycled through its in-store RedCycle program.

Woolworths also removed a total of 890 tonnes of plastic from its fruit, vegetables and bakery ranges over the past two years.

 

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