Agriculture is the backbone of our business, from the fruit and vegetables sold weekly in Woolworths and Countdown Supermarkets, to the cotton used in our BIG W apparel. As a society, we are depleting our land, water and soil faster than it can be replenished, and biodiversity is declining. Decades of intensive farming, without adequate stewardship, has reduced our planet’s ability to store carbon and degraded our natural resources. Australia’s extreme weather conditions, including drought, floods and fire, have also impacted the resilience of our land. With the world’s population projected to experience exponential growth by 2050, we need to find ways to feed more people from less. We understand the issues affecting our world, and are committed to doing more.
Farmers also understand these issues and together we can do more to protect our natural reserves. We have committed to working with our farmers, suppliers and other partners to conduct a review to understand the potential for adopting sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices across our fresh food supply chain in high‑risk areas.
Partnerships are critical to delivering impact in our value chain. Our active involvement in industry forums
and pilots enables us to understand drivers for change and test the value propositions for applying new
frameworks and practices. We have joined the Australian Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform) to improve our understanding of Australian and global sustainable agriculture best practices and identify opportunities to increase their adoption in our supply chains. We will work with SAI to build our teams’ and suppliers’ capabilities in the coming year.
In New Zealand, we progressed the Regenerative Management Systems for New Zealand Vegetable Production project co-funded by the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund. The project is conducted in partnership with produce supplier LeaderBrand Produce and Crown Research Institute, Plant and Food Research. It aims to understand and validate the feasibility of incorporating regenerative practices into intensive vegetable production through on-farm trials. The project’s findings will inform our approach to regenerative agriculture across Australia and New Zealand.