Corporate Responsibility


In a more carbon-conscious future, operating sustainability and efficiently isn't just good for the planet - it makes good business sense. In response to this we are working to ensure our stores, trucks and facilities have less impact on our environment.


Sustainability is about what we do and how we do it. We are proud to be a successful business, but to be sustainable over the long term, our success must not come at the expense of the communities, economies and environments we are a part of.

Greener stores

We're working harder than ever to make our stores greener. Research in 2010 showed that 84% of shoppers surveyed had concerns about the impact of their shopping decisions on the environment. As part of the Woolworths group, we have a target to reduce carbon emissions on projected growth levels by 40% by 2015. This would mean maintaining our 2006 emissions levels despite significant growth in store numbers. 
As part of an overall sustainability strategy, we are also working to reduce the environmental footprint of all stores. Our new supermarkets and also those as we refurbish, now include tried-and-tested environmental improvements such as:


Re-usable shopping bags 

We are committed to helping customers reduce their plastic bag use. All our stores have re-usable bags available for customers to purchase, these bags have been particularly successful in recent years. Re-usable bags are an excellent choice for shoppers and our new checkout designs are made to allow ease of packing into these bags.


In our four Distribution Centres nationwide, lighting accounts for approximately 65% of Countdown’s electricity costs. Therefore this represents the biggest opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint.

In our Christchurch distribution centre, we have worked in partnership with the EECA to introduce a wireless LED lighting system which provides lux control for daylight harvesting, and wireless motion detection to activate lights on an ‘as required’ basis. As a result, we have reduced lighting use by 88%.

Freight movements

Delivering perishable goods to stores in the best possible condition isn't just about looking after our customers - it's also minimising waste.

In 2009 we introduced a re-usable Foodcap system which enables us to remove the use of disposable polystyrene chiller boxes, liners and ice that we would use to transport meat and seafood to stores. Over a year this equates to 11 tonnes of packaging that is no longer sent to landfill or recycled.

Sustainable Fish & Seafood

Seafood is an integral part of our fresh food offer so healthy oceans, sustainable fish stocks and a viable fishing industry are all essential to our business.

We work in close consultation with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, and believe we are taking a responsible lead with the sustainability of our own brand* seafood supply. We continue to work with suppliers on improving industry practice.

Wild-caught seafood

Our ambition is to have all our own brand wild-caught seafood range Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified by 2015. MSC is the world’s leading independent certification and eco-labelling scheme for wild-caught seafood.

Our Select brand canned tuna will be pole and line caught by the end of 2013, and
we will phase out the use of fish aggregation devices (FADs) by the end of 2015 in all own brand canned tuna. Removing the FADs will significantly reduce the bycatch of sharks, dolphins and juvenile tuna in the supply chain.

*Own brand refers to all Countdown, Select, Homebrand, Macro, and Signature Range branded products.