Woolworths outlines goals to make packaging more sustainable

In November 2020, Woolworths launched its ‘2025 Sustainability Plan.’ One of Woolworths’ Sustainability Plan goals is to “make packaging more sustainable.”

In an email to suppliers from Woolworths Director of Buying & Group Replenishment Paul Harker and Group Chief Sustainability Officer Alex Holt, they stated, “Our commitment is to collaborate with you, our trading partners, government and industry to reduce waste and transition our business to a circular economy. As part of this, we have set an ambitious commitment to make all of our own brand packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2023 and are already working with our own brand suppliers to achieve this.

“We are also committed to working closely with our trade partners to help increase the sustainability of our vendor branded packaging, and work towards the removal of non-recyclable and hard to recycle packaging materials, in line with the Australian Government’s ‘2025 National Packaging Targets.’”

Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation CEO Brooke Donnelly said, “To achieve Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets we need a whole of supply chain approach fostering collaboration and leadership. Today, Woolworths displayed both those qualities with the publication of the preferred and problematic packaging materials list. The team at APCO are proud to have developed a number of public resources to support businesses in the transition to a circular economy for packaging and members like Woolworths that share this information with their wide networks can amplify and accelerate this transition.”

What this means for suppliers

As part of its commitment, Woolworths has published a “problematic and preferred packaging materials list” on Partner Hub which categorises packaging materials based on how easily recyclable they are and will work with all suppliers to phase out the hardest to recycle materials from their packaging by 2025.

“We’ve developed this list in consultation with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation. We are using this list to guide our own packaging and would like to share it with all of our suppliers to support your packaging decisions. We want to work with you to phase out the hardest to recycle materials from packaging by 2025. We hope this practical and easy to understand guide is a helpful tool to identify the materials to be phased out by this time as we work together towards the National Packaging Targets,” Mr Harker and Ms Holt said.

The Partner Hub list contains all of the above information along with supporting material produced by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.

“While these may feel like long term goals, it’s important we set this direction with a reasonable timeframe to understand and identify solutions to problematic packaging to reach this target by 2025.

“We encourage you to please contact us if you have any questions about our sustainable packaging goals and how we can work together to bring about positive change.

“We will continue to discuss our packaging goals with you regularly and provide you with support to help you phase out problematic packaging in the coming years,” Mr Harker and Ms Holt said.

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