WESFARMERS SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2018

Supporting Australian farmers, producers and growers

Coles is committed to building strong and collaborative relationships with Australian farmers, producers and growers.

Coles has an Australian-first sourcing policy to provide Australian-grown fresh produce as a first priority. In FY18, 96 per cent of fresh produce and 100 per cent of fresh lamb, pork, chicken, beef, milk and eggs was sourced from Australian suppliers.

In line with the Australian-first sourcing policy, in FY18 Coles announced its aim to become the first Australian national grocery retailer to sell only Australian-grown lemons all year round. The business is working with a Queensland supplier to fill the seasonal gap when Australian lemons have previously not been available for Coles’ customers.

Coles also supports Australian producers and growers with long-term contracts. In April 2018, Coles signed a 10-year agreement with Laurent to provide Coles supermarkets with a range of artisan-style stone baked sourdough bread. In recent years, Coles has also signed ten-year agreements with TOP Pork Pty Ltd and Sundrop Farms, a nine-year contract with milk supplier Norco and an eight-year agreement with Manbulloo Mangoes. Coles also has a long term contract with Simplot to supply Australian-grown vegetables which were previously sourced overseas.

Coles complies with country of origin labelling requirements which came into effect in July 2018 and provide transparency around product origin.

Coles Nurture Fund

Coles supports small business to innovate and grow through the $50 million Coles Nurture Fund.

The Nurture Fund was established in April 2015 and supports small-to-medium businesses in the food and grocery sector with the development of new market-leading products, technologies and processes.

Innovation is one of the primary drivers of competitiveness. Coles recognises that smart, energetic and agile small businesses can be a launch-pad for great product innovation, with Australian customers reaping the benefits of new and exciting ventures in the food industry.

Since its launch, Coles has offered more than $12 million in grants or interest-free loans to 27 different producers.

During FY18, Coles announced the successful applicants from round four of the Nurture Fund and opened applications for round five.

Successful applicants from round four included farmers and food producers from: Coolac (New South Wales); Goulburn Valley, Ovens Valley and Gippsland (Victoria); Ringarooma and Launceston (Tasmania); Kununurra (Western Australia); as well as a manufacturer in Sydney. 

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 milk directed to the Fund. In addition, $1 million was donated to the Farmers’ Fund from the Coles Nurture Fund in FY17. By 30 June 2018, 135 dairy farmers had been provided grants of close to $1.8 million.

Coles also sells South Australian Dairyfarmers Association (SADA) Fresh Milk and Western Australian Farmers Federation WA Farmers First milk where 20 cents a litre is provided to industry funds to support dairy farmers. Since 2015, Coles has sold over 6.4 million litres of SADA Fresh Milk and nearly 4.1 million litres of WA Farmers First milk.