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How Woolies charged ahead of Coles in 2020

Jessica Yun
·3-min read
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 17: A woman in a surgical mask walks past the entrance to the Woolworths Metro supermarket in North Strathfield on August 17, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. New South Wales remains on high alert as new COVID-19 cases continue to be diagnosed. Customers of the Supermarket are being urged to watch for symptoms after a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 case visited the store over the weekend. The state recorded seven new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours with six locally-acquired and one in hotel quarantine. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)
Woolworths is leading corporate Australia in the switch to renewables energy. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Woolworths is leading corporate Australia’s transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, creating more than 1,500 jobs along the way, a new report has revealed.

Telstra, Bunnings, Aldi, Officeworks and the University of Sydney are among 28 of Australia’s biggest brands – and consumers of electricity – that have committed to the switch, according to Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewables Snapshot report.

Collectively, the businesses use enough electricity to power all the homes in Brisbane and Perth.

But the companies have also committed to sourcing this amount of energy from renewable sources, driving an estimated 2.8 gigawatts of demand for renewable energy projects over the next five years.

Retailers, and supermarkets in particular, lead the pack: Aldi, Woolies, Bunnings and Officeworks alone will drive demand for nearly 2 gigawatts of wind and solar (powering 757,000 homes) and creating 3,407 jobs.

(Source: Greenpeace Australia Pacific, REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewables Snapshot)
(Source: Greenpeace Australia Pacific, REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewables Snapshot)

“Woolworths, Australia’s sixth largest electricity user, announced that it will make the switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025, which will see it source the majority of its power needs through signing deals with new-build wind and solar farms,” the report said.

Meanwhile, Aldi has set the most ambitious timeline, the report said, and has said that 100 per cent of its energy will be powered by renewables by the end of 2021.

And while Coles has made some headway, signing major agreements that will see 33 per cent of Coles’ electricity from renewable sources, the Greenpeace report singled out the supermarket giant.

“Coles is now the only major Australian supermarket chain that has not committed to a 100 per cent renewable energy target.”

(Source: Greenpeace Australia Pacific, REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewables Snapshot)
(Source: Greenpeace Australia Pacific, REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewables Snapshot)

Who else is going green?

Telecommunications giant Telstra has made a commitment to be 100 per cent renewable by 2025.

Major zinc refinery Sun Metals has also committed to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, paving the way for others in the manufacturing and industry sector to do the same.

Here’s the full list of major Aussie corporations committing to 100 per cent renewable energy:

(Source: Greenpeace Australia Pacific,REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewables Snapshot)
(Source: Greenpeace Australia Pacific,REenergise 2020 Corporate Renewables Snapshot)

Government ‘inertia’ blasted

The Greenpeace report criticised the Morrison Government for failing to deliver policy around renewable energy.

“The Federal Government is still yet to make a commitment to a serious renewable energy or emissions reduction policy, which would provide greater certainty for businesses and investors and speed our transition to a fully renewable-powered grid,” the report said.

The private sector will move forward without the government, it warned.

“However, despite this ongoing inertia at the federal level, corporate 100 per cent renewable commitments look set to pick up even more pace in 2021.”

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