Australian supermarket giant Coles has made a pledge for 100% renewables powering its operations by 2025, moving away from coal and natural gas electricity generation.
Coles has set a number of key environmental targets in its roadmap to 100% renewables by 2025, the most prominent of which involves a move away from coal and natural gas sources of power for its operations.
Instead, Coles plans to purchase clean-sourced and sustainable electricity from solar and wind power generators.
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The plan was outlined in a recent media release saying that Coles’ new “together to zero” plan aims to “accelerate climate action and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as Coles opens next-generation sustainable supermarkets.”
News of the announcement means that three of Australia’s largest supermarket chains have made a commitment to divest from fossil fuels in their supply chains by 2025. Aldi and Woolworths have each made previous renewable energy plans, with Aldi said to be making an exit from coal-based power generation by the end of the year.
Key amongst the new plan’s aims are to bring Coles’ operations to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, reduce these emissions by 75% by 2030, and power its entire set of operations with renewable energy from 2025.
Steven Cain, CEO of the Coles Group has offered up a statement saying that “as part of these targets that we are setting today, we are delighted to introduce ‘Together to Zero,’ which underlines our commitment to work together with all stakeholders towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions.”
“A key part of our ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket will be reducing our environmental impact, and we have a responsibility to help create a better Australia for future generations.”
Cain added that on top of improving efficiency rates for its refrigerators, Coles is looking to optimise its supply chain and ensure that delivery trucks do not make any trips while under-loaded or empty.
The CEO hinted that in the near future, these delivery and distribution trucks will be powered by electricity. “Over time, we will see the move to electric vehicles – that’s maybe not too far away,” he said.
Coles says that by 2023, more than 45% of its electricity needs will be sourced from the Lal Lal Wind Farms, in the form of a massive electricity generation certificate.
The supermarket also says that by July 2022, 90% of its Queensland activities will be powered by renewables thanks to a deal with CleanCo, adding to the 2019 agreement it made with NSW-based solar farms for 70% of its electricity needs.
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says that it believes Coles is one of the most progressive ASX-listed companies in terms of environmental concerns.
The ACCR’s Dan Gocher told Renew Economy that “Coles is now a close second in ambition, after Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) committed earlier this week to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.”
“Coles is not an insignificant emitter – it produced 1.6 million tonnes of CO2e in FY2020 – and ranks in the top 50 of Australia’s largest polluters.”
“This latest flurry of climate announcements from Australian companies shows the penny has finally dropped on climate risk management. The Federal government would be wise to take heed,” Gocher concluded.