5 June 2020
With winter upon us and today being World Environment Day, I thought it was a good time to talk about some of the key things we’ve been working on.
Something that really surprised me during COVID was the continued relevance of the environment – with 70% of Australians saying that taking care of the planet and making sustainable choices remained important to them, even at the height of the crisis.
It’s now two years since we phased out single-use plastic bags. While this was a big step, with more than 6 billion bags removed from circulation since then, we’ve always been clear that it was just the first on our journey towards a greener tomorrow.
So with that in mind, I’m proud to be able to report on some of the progress we’ve made:
As we start to recover from COVID-19, we understand how important it is to support Australian businesses and in turn our communities.
That’s why, to support Australian dairy farmers, this week we announced that we will extend our existing dairy contribution payments for Woolworths branded two and three litre fresh own brand milk varieties until June 2021. This extension is expected to contribute more than $30 million to dairy farmers, on top of the almost $50 million we, together with you, our customers, have already contributed. Thank you for your continued support for this key initiative.
This is in addition to our commitment to an Australian-first sourcing policy for fruit, vegetables and meat and supporting local products where possible.
We have also heard your feedback on how to make identifying Australian products easier when you’re shopping – it's a challenge we’re up for and one we are working on.
In previous emails, I talked about how our cooking behaviour changed during COVID-19 and how we were becoming more adventurous in the kitchen. This trend has continued with strong growth in all forms of vegetables, with eggplant up a massive 38% on last year, herbs are also up 28%, ginger up 18%, garlic up 26% and chillies up 36%.
What strikes me at the moment, though, is how we are slowly getting back into home entertaining as restrictions ease. Premium entertaining products like specialty cheeses, olives and premium crackers have grown by 23% on last year and baking and desserts are up 34%. Perhaps it’s because we’re now able to invite people over again and show off our new baking skills?
Equally, as we continue to eat more at home, we’ve just launched a new range of options to make life easier in time for winter – delicious stir-fries, tray bakes and vegetable packs with a lot of the hard work already done for you. Look for our COOK and &Veg ranges next time you’re shopping.
And we’re not only getting comfort from food. We’ve sold almost 200,000 pairs of slippers, 100,000 sets of pyjamas, 20,000 electric blankets and 40,000 heaters at Woolworths over the past 5 weeks.
I wanted to share some updates as restrictions further ease across the community:
Finally, thank you for all your positive feedback on our team. It has been very inspiring to read your various comments and we have been reflecting on how we can recognise their extraordinary efforts.
We’ve decided the best way would be to invite them to become shareholders in Woolworths, so this week we announced that more than 100,000 of our permanent (full-time and part-time) team members would be rewarded with shares in Woolworths Group before the end of June.
I hope you agree that this is appropriate recognition and we are excited to welcome them to our shareholder register.
It’s another reminder that it’s only by being ‘better together’ than we can live our purpose of ‘creating better experiences together for a better tomorrow’.
CEO, Woolworths Group