WESFARMERS SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2017

Economic contribution

Coles is proud of its contribution to Australia over more than a century, and remains committed to helping Australia grow as we grow.

Coles is one of Australia’s largest private employers with 801 supermarkets, 883 liquor stores, 89 hotels and 702 convenience outlets employing more than 106,000 team members nationally.

For the past five years, Coles has averaged an investment of close to $1 billion a year (based on Coles capital expenditure over five years) in the nation’s economy, generating tens of thousands of jobs in construction of new stores and refurbishments, as well as ongoing jobs as these stores become operational.

From 1 July 2017, small businesses who supply Coles Supermarkets and Coles Express with up to $1 million of goods for resale annually, will have their electronic invoices paid within 14 days. This initiative is designed to help smaller suppliers to focus on producing and innovating great products for our customers.

Coles' most important contribution is helping to contain cost-of-living increases for Australian families by giving them a better deal on high-quality food and groceries. For 25 consecutive quarters, Coles has recorded food and liquor price deflation in our stores.

Coles Nurture Fund
Coles assists small business through the $50 million Coles Nurture Fund. The fund, which was established in April 2015, supports small-to-medium businesses in the food and grocery sector with the development of new market-leading products, technologies and processes.

Since its launch, Coles has provided close to nine million dollars in grants and interest-free loans to around 20 businesses including cattle farmer Bill Crowther. Using a $500,000 grant, Mr Crowther will become the first cattle producer in Queensland to supply locally-grown beef to Coles’ grass-fed GRAZE beef range. Mr Crowther and his sons will use the funding to plant a resilient tree-legume, Leucaena, at two family farms in Central Queensland, increasing the land’s productivity by 20 per cent and enabling consistent production of grass-fed beef.

“Rather than trying to implement this plan over 10 years, we’ll be able to turbo charge our operation and bring it down to two. This innovation will help us to have grass-fed cattle ready for market annually, between January through to October, from 2018.”
- BILL CROWTHER, QUEENSLAND CATTLE FARMER AND COLES NURTURE FUND RECIPIENT.                                           

Support for Farmers’ Fund
In September 2016, Coles helped to establish an independent industry fund managed by the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) to provide practical support to dairy farmers in southeast Australia. To generate proceeds for the fund, Coles and VFF jointly launched Farmers Fund milk exclusively in most Coles Supermarkets across Victoria, with 40 cents from the sale of two-litre skim and full cream containers directed to the fund. In addition, $1 million was donated to the Farmers Fund from the Coles Nurture Fund. By June 30, more than 100 dairy farmers received grants from the Farmers Fund.

Coles also sells South Australian Dairy Farmers' Association (SADA) Fresh Milk and Western Australian Farmer Federations (WAFarmers) WAFarmersFirst milk where 20 cents a litre is provided to industry funds. Coles has sold more than 5.4 million litres of SADA Fresh milk since 2013 and more than 2.7 million litres of WAFarmersFirst milk since 2014.