Woolworths has various recycling initiatives and trials at stores, corporate offices, and distribution centres. David Jones and Country Road are also working on quantifying waste and packaging impacts in order to develop waste management strategies for their operations. We’re committed to reducing our waste footprint across our operations, products and in our customers’ lives, as well as supporting the development of recycling industries.
We have committed to phase out single-use-plastic-shopper bags by 2020 and have committed that all our packaging will be reusable or recyclable by 2022. Actions to achieve these commitments are in in progress throughout the Group, including introducing plastic-shopper-bag free stores and low-cost reusable bags at Woolworths stores. To date, we have also removed single-use cutlery and straws from our Woolworths stores and cafés and replaced plastic-stemmed earbuds with paper-stemmed ones.
As a group, we are also committed to promoting the use of alternative sustainable materials, and making it easier for our customers to recycle. See Woolworths Packaging Position Statement. Both County Road Group and David Jones are members of the Australian Packaging Covenant, a voluntary initiative which aims to change the culture of business to design more sustainable packaging and increase recycling rates.
We have increased our focus on the need to move towards a circular approach, reducing dependence on natural and virgin resources, using recycled raw materials, and revaluing waste within the supply chain. The WHL Group continues to review opportunities for innovation in this regard. Country Road Group and David Jones have developed a holistic circular fashion strategy as well as implemented circular design training for Country Road Group sourcing teams.
All of our Group companies support the collection and distribution of surplus or pre-loved clothing to charity. Across the Group, we have three partner organisations – The Clothing Bank (Woolworths), the Red Cross (Country Road Group) and The Smith Family (David Jones). The Clothing Bank operates in six major metropoles across South Africa and aims to empower unemployed women and men from disadvantaged areas in South Africa through a programme of life skills and financial and career development to start sustainable clothing micro-businesses. In Australia, the sale of CRG and customer donations in Red Cross shops contributes valuable funds to the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. The funds generated through The Smith Family for David Jones support educational outcomes for Australian children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Woolworths donates all surplus food from stores which is within its use-by date to over 1500 charity partners on a weekly basis. In line with global efforts to reduce the growing problem of food waste, Woolworths is also investing in research to enable the reduction of food waste and loss through the supply chain and in customers’ homes. David Jones has recently partnered with OzHarvest one of Australia’s leading food rescue organisations, which collects quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it directly to charity organisations.
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