Coles announces it will reach 100% renewable electricity target by 2025

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·News Reporter
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Coles has today announced that its goal to source 100 per cent of their electricity needs from renewable sources from 2025 is becoming a reality.

The retailer announced that critical power purchase agreements were signed this week, which will enable the retailer to move to 100 per cent renewable energy from mid-2025.

Coles recently signed renewable electricity agreements for large-scale generation certificate agreements (LGC) with energy giants Origin Energy, Acconia Energia, and Engie.

Coles logo in a window, people walking past in reflection. Source: Reuters/Steven Saphore
Coles has secured means to achieve their goal quicker than projected. Source: Reuters/Steven Saphore

The renewable electricity LGCs will be drawn from existing sites including Willogoleche Wind Farm in South Australia and Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm in Victoria, as well as drawing on renewable electricity from several wind and solar farms which are still under construction.

The securement of these agreements means that Coles has already locked down enough renewable electricity to cover its estimated electricity usage from July 1, 2025.

The retailer originally announced its bold plans to move to 100% renewable energy in 2025 in March, as part of their Together to Zero strategy.

“We understand our responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint, as well as mitigate the environmental and social impacts of climate change,” Coles's Climate Change webpage says.

Wind farm. Source: Coles
Coles became the first Australian retailer to announce a renewable power purchase agreement in 2019 with global renewable power generation company Mytilineos, then known as Metka Egn. Source: Coles

However Coles Chief Sustainability, Property and Export Officer Thinus Keevé said that 100 per cent renewable energy by June 2025 goal has moved forward considerably. 

“We can now say with confidence that Coles will be 100 per cent renewable from July 1, 2025, which is an incredible achievement,” he said.

“The agreements with Origin Energy, Acconia Energía, and Engie put us on the path to achieve this.”

Coles’s renewable energy and sustainability commitments

Coles’s securing of renewable energy LGCs comes less than a year after the announcement of plans to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity by the 2025 financial year.

The retail giant has been implementing bold sustainability strategies following the original announcement of their renewable energy plan.

In June, Corowa Solar Farm in New South Wales finished construction, becoming the first of three solar plants included in the agreement to be fully operational.

Coles employee at a wind farm. Source: Coles
Coles customers have been pleased with their environmental achievements thus far. Source: Coles

Throughout the 2021 financial year Coles also signed agreements with Lal Lal Wind Farms in Victoria, as well as renewable electricity companies Neoen and CleanCo.

Sustainability, reduction of carbon emissions and zero waste are at the forefront of Coles’s Together to Zero strategy.

Coles customers have been quick to commend the supermarket on innovative new store layouts, featuring ‘bring your own’ container stations and a juice bar and a refill station for shampoo, conditioner and laundry detergent.

A woman fills a container with coffee. Source: Coles
A number of initiatives have been implemented to reduce plastic waste in stores. Source: Coles

Customers have also been vocal about the retailer’s use of plastic in store, which has led to announcements that the supermarket will ditch plastic collectables, as well as the phasing out of plastic clips on bread products, which will be replaced with cardboard clips.

Coles has also announced an innovative new marine bag which is made from 80 per cent recycled marine waste.

Greenpeace issues new challenge for Coles

Environmental campaigning organisation Greenpeace Australia has posed a new challenge Coles supermarkets, following the announcement that they are on track to reach their 2025 renewable energy goal.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific's REenergise campaign director Lindsay Soutar posed a challenge to Coles via a media release this afternoon.

"This week the International Energy Agency has warned we must triple our spending on renewables to maintain a safer climate, and Australian businesses like Coles have a crucial role to play," she said.

"Now we'd like to see Coles tackling their value chain emissions and investing in electrifying their sizeable transport fleet."

Ms Soutar also said that renewable momentum from Australian businesses puts necessary pressure on the Australian Government to commit to a stronger emissions reduction target.

"As the Federal Government dithers over a net-zero target, business leaders are rushing towards renewables," she said.

Two Coles trucks driving on a road. Source: Getty Images
Greenpeace is pleased with Coles's announcement but has turned their attention to Coles's transport emissions. Source: Getty Images

"Australian companies and manufacturers know that cheaper, cleaner renewable energy is already powering the country, and are making smart investments to shore up their business for the future."

"Australia's corporate sector has clearly indicated that it wants strong, decisive emissions reduction, and the Federal Government must develop policies that support investment and growth of renewables," Ms Soutar said.

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