Woolworths and Coles sign ANZPAC plastic pact

ASX 200 supermarket giants Woolworths Group (ASX: WOW) and Coles Group (ASX: COL) have signed a pact to lessen their plastic footprint.

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S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) supermarket giants Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) and Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL) have signed the new Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands (ANZPAC) plastic pact.

The pact was launched yesterday and comprises a series of “ambitious” targets for signatories to achieve by 2025.

A total of 58 other companies, non-government organisations, and governments are also involved in the pact.

Let’s take a closer look at the pact and what it might mean for the ASX 200 supermarket chains.

Reducing plastic waste

The ANZPAC plastic pact is led by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.

It includes four targets that signatories must reach by 2025. These are:

1. Eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging through redesign, innovation and alternative (reuse) delivery models

2. 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025.

3. Increase plastic packaging collected and effectively recycled by 25% for each geography within the ANZPAC region.

4. Average of 25% recycled content in plastic packaging across the region.

According to ANZPAC, if the region continues to amass the volume of plastic waste it is currently making, the amount of plastic in the ocean will quadruple by 2040.

It also states the pact represents members from the entire plastic supply chain. Founding members include brands, packaging manufactures, and retailers.

Coles has already committed to removing all single-use plastic from its stores by 1 July 2021.

Woolworths head of sustainability Adrian Cullen said the supermarket has removed thousands of tonnes of plastic from its stores.

Commentary from management

Members of both Coles’ and Woolworths’ upper management commented on the ASX 200 companies’ support of the pact.

Coles chief executive of commercial and express Greg Davis said:

As one of Australia’s largest retailers, Coles understands the importance of working collaboratively to find a more sustainable future for plastic packaging. We’ve just launched our new Together to Zero sustainability strategy and have an ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, working with our suppliers, customers and other stakeholders towards zero waste. As a founding member of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact, we now have an opportunity to build and shape meaningful change on plastic packaging and move towards a circular plastic economy as a global community.

Woolworths head of sustainability Adrian Cullen said: 

We’re working towards a better tomorrow for our customers, communities and the planet, and reducing plastic waste is one of the important ways we can make a meaningful difference… The Plastics Pact is a first of its kind opportunity for the entire industry and every level of the supply chain to rally around this challenge and collaborate on solutions that reduce plastic waste for the benefit of the environment and generations to come.

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Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of COLESGROUP DEF SET and Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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