Responding to climate change
Responding to climate change: energy and carbon initiatives
Shifting weather patterns and frequent extreme weather events continually remind us about the impacts of climate change. Climate science indicates that we need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst of these effects and our goal to decarbonise our business is aligned to this aim. But we want to go further – we want to become a net carbon positive business, taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than we produce. As Australia’s largest food retailer, Woolworths Group has a responsibility to be a leader in responding to climate change.
We have now committed to two ambitious targets, which align to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and have been validated by the Science Base Target initiative:
- Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 63 per cent by 2030 from a 2015 base year.
- Reduce absolute Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 19 per cent by 2030 from a 2015 base year.
Our Climate Change strategy has been endorsed by the Woolworths Group Board and covers the following five elements:
- Reducing and greening our power use - through power efficiency and transitioning to 100% green electricity.
- Introducing low-carbon technology and practices in our operations - including converting refrigeration systems in approximately 700 stores to low-carbon technology; addressing food waste; and investigating decarbonisation of our logistics operations.
- Increasing resilience in our value chain - we will make physical network resilience investments (such as flood barriers and back-up generators in vulnerable stores), enhance buying practices to diversify supply and better leverage climate and weather science, as well as focusing on the environmental sustainability of our supply chain.
- Supporting our team, customers and industry on emissions reduction - our customers tell us that living more sustainably is important to them, even during a pandemic, with 45% saying that ‘taking care of the planet is important to them’. However, 33% say that lack of clarity around sustainable product choices is a barrier to living more sustainably. We’re also engaging our partners and suppliers on ways that they can reduce carbon emissions, increase uptake of green power, engage in regenerative agricultural practices and invest in innovation.
- Supporting community climate change resilience - leading by example supporting natural disaster-affected communities.
We will continue to investigate further cost-effective investments as technology and commercial opportunities evolve. Please see our latest Sustainability Report for our progress.
Building capacity in our suppliers - climate change risks with a focus on water.
Agricultural supply security is an issue of high importance to investors wanting to understand the impact issues such as water shortages and droughts could have on investee company profitability, including through higher prices or reduced availability of supply chain agricultural inputs. We will work with our suppliers to build capacity in managing climate change risks with an initial focus on water.