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Coles donates $143 million, 35 million meals to those in need

Coles has today announced that they have donated $143 million in funding and more than 35 million meals to Australians in need.

The announcement, which details the specifics of the donations, was made today via Coles’s 2021 Sustainability report.

Coles’s food donations included more than 18 million kilograms of food, which is equivalent to over 35 million meals.

The food donations were provided to national community partners SecondBite and Foodbank, to feed Aussies who are doing it tough.

Coles supermarket in Neutral Bay, Sydney's lower north shore. Source: Getty Images
Coles has donated more than 35 million meals to Australians in need. Source: Getty Images

The report, which covers the 2021 financial year, stated that Coles contributed $143 million in community support to communities across Australia in collaboration with customers, team members and suppliers to do so.

The $143 million contribution consisted of more than $124.4 million from Coles in cash, in-kind support, management costs and time.

An $18.6 million contribution was also made by Coles customers, team members and suppliers from activities such as fundraising.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said that these achievements were part of Coles’s Better Together strategy.

“Not only did this help feed vulnerable people facing hardship but importantly it also helped to reduce food waste,” he said.

“Better Together recognises that when we work together, we can make a real difference to our team, our suppliers, our customers and to the communities in which we live and work.”

Since forming partnerships with SecondBite in 2011 and Foodbank in 2003, Coles has donated the equivalent of 185.2 million meals to people in need.

Community partners grateful for Coles’s ‘crucial’ donations

SecondBite Co-Founder Simone Carson said the food donations from Coles have enabled SecondBite to respond to increased demand for food relief.

“The past 12 months have been especially hard for communities across Australia impacted by Covid-19 and still recovering from bushfires,” she said.

“Demand for food skyrocketed and access to fresh, nutritious food has been vital.”

Foodbank, Secondbite and Coles team members holding food. Source: Coles
Foodbank, Secondbite and Coles team members have worked together to cater for the increased demand for food donations across Australia. Source: Coles

“We would not have been able to respond to those in need without the 16.7 million kilograms of fresh produce donated by Coles,” she said.

Foodbank CEO Brianna Casey said Coles and Foodbank shared a vision to sustainably feed all Australians.

“We believe everyone should have access to essential food, especially in times of hardship,” she said.

More than 815,000 people a month were accessing food relief through the Foodbank network before the Black Summer bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“That number has grown significantly at various times throughout the last year and is likely to rise further as the knock-on effects of these events will be felt for years to come,” she said.

“We are proud to partner with Coles as we strive towards a shared purpose of sustainably feeding all Australians.”

Coles reveals 2021 sustainability achievements

In response to customer calls to drive sustainability, Coles has also announced a number of environmental achievements in its 2021 Sustainability Report.

The report states that more than 1.6 billion pieces of soft plastic have been returned to Coles supermarkets since 2011, through a partnership with REDcycle.

The report also boasts a 2.2 per cent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 2020 financial year, while detailing a commitment to no longer perform giveaways of plastic collectables.

Following a number of customer packaging gripes, Coles has also announced that 87 per cent of Coles Own Brand and Coles Own Liquor Brand primary packaging is now recyclable.

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