New sustainability goals have been set by Countdown to help turn the tide on climate change.

The company has announced it will revolutionise its business to help meet the new goals, which are set to be achieved by 2025.

While there are more than 40 commitments in Countdown’s Sustainability Plan 2025, Kia pai ake te apōpō – A Better Tomorrow, 13 ‘game-changers’ have been identified across three focus areas – people, planet and product – that it believes will drive some of the most powerful changes.

Countdown’s general manager corporate affairs, safety and sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, says the commitments are more ambitious than ever before to meet the scale of challenges the planet is facing.

“Climate change is a very real and present threat and we have to keep making progress on the gains we’ve made over the last few years when it comes to sustainability. We’ve recognised that to do that, we can’t be vague in our intentions – we’ve had to make sure our plan is game-changing for Aotearoa’s environment and our people.

“This plan isn’t about doing the easy things that make people feel good about our brand in the short-term. It’s about tackling the big, gnarly issues, and making changes that will have long-lasting positive impacts on our team, our communities and the environment,” says Hannifin.

“Our game-changer commitments in particular are the ones that will shift the dial for not only our team and customers, but for all Kiwis. They tackle the big issues like making a firm commitment on zero food waste to landfill from our stores by 2025; actively encouraging a diverse and inclusive team with more Māori and Pasifika team members at senior levels; developing and building our supermarkets and distribution centres in more sustainable ways; and cutting carbon emissions dramatically.

“We want all our own brand packaging to be reusable or recyclable, and that our own brand products are not only sourced sustainably, but are healthier too.  We had previously committed to our own brand eggs being cage-free, but we’re taking this even further so that eggs used in any of our own brand products are cage-free too,” says Hannifin.

Countdown’s game-changer 2025 commitments are as below:

  • 20% of senior leadership positions (store manager level and above) will be held by Māori and Pasifika New Zealanders.
  • We will join the Accessibility Tick programme and achieve year-on-year improvements on our baseline.
  • Our team members are empowered and encouraged to support their wellbeing. We are committed to building a workplace where people believe it’s okay not to feel okay, and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help.
  • We will have a positive impact on our communities by investing the equivalent of 1% of a three‑year rolling average of total Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) in community partnerships and programmes.
  • We will support teams identified at risk of future changes in how we work (e.g. automation) through the establishment of the Woolworths Future of Work Fund, providing access to tools and support to help them prepare for the future.
  • All new property developments will achieve a 4 Green Star design and as-built rating, and by 2025 we aim to have a 5 Green Star minimum standard.
  • Zero food waste to landfill from our stores by 2025.
  • Achieve net zero waste from our support offices by 2023.
  • Reduce our emissions by 63% by 2030, from a 2015 baseline.
  • 100% of Own Brand packaging will be recyclable or reusable.
  • Characters, graphics and activities that could be perceived as primarily appealing to children will only be used on healthier Own Brand product packaging.
  • 100% of our Own Brand products will have a least one health or sustainability attribute.
  • 100% of our Own Brand eggs and the eggs used in Own Brand products will be cage-free.