Coles CMO Lisa Ronson on the aim to be ‘Australia’s most sustainable supermarket and trusted retailer’

Coles is on a journey with its customers, team members, partners and farmers to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket and trusted retailer.

The aisles of more than 2,500 Coles supermarkets, Express and Liquor stores around the country no longer feature single-use plastic tableware and from today today the retailer will no longer give away plastic collectible toys.

Coles aims to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket

The removal of single-use plastic tableware and toys comes as Coles Group releases its sustainability strategy, setting out its plans to work with customers, suppliers, team members and the community to achieve its ambitions centred around the two pillars of  ‘Together to Zero’ and ‘Better Together’ with the campaign launching on Sunday 26 July via DDB Australia.

Coles’ chief marketing officer, Lisa Ronson told Mumbrella: “The aim for us is to really start communicating with our customers, and share some of the initiatives that we’ve been working on. 

“We serve most Australians every single week, and so we’ve launched ‘Together to Zero’ and ‘Better Together’ because they really encapsulate all of the sustainability initiatives that we’re currently implementing. And our goal is to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket and trusted retailer. So, this is a very core part of that, starting to communicate some of these initiatives to our customers, because we know it’s meaningful for them.”

Coles’ chief marketing officer, Lisa Ronson

Additionally, based on insights collected, Ronson said Coles is committed to working with Australians to “make a better tomorrow for future generations”. To track success, Coles is using the Net Promoter Score, a widely used market research metric that typically takes the form of a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company, product, or a service to a friend or colleague.

The way that we measure customer engagement is Net Promoter Score. At our recent strategy day, we spoke about Net Promoter Score being our true north. That’s what really the determinant to long-term growth. And because our vision is to be the most trusted retailer in Australia and grow long-term shareholder value.

“When it comes to our Net Promoter Score we know that a trusted brand has a three-and-a-half times higher Net Promoter Score, and as I said a strong Net Promoter Score drives long-term growth. So that’s really what we’re measuring in this campaign. We obviously have other measures that we look at, but it’s ultimately NPS.”

Ronson added that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Coles had to change its focus to customer safety and help them to “shop safe.”

“We send a lot of those shop-safe communications that we’ve implemented for about 15 months now. Then from a customer point-of-view, we monitor it daily based on the different states, how our customers are feeling, and what the seasons are like.

“We’ve changed our marketing calendar up quite significantly in the last 15 months, or whenever we know our customers have been locked down, that just goes to how much Coles is being customer-obsessed. We’re constantly looking at consumer sentiment and how our customers are feeling and we then adapt accordingly.

Additionally, new data collected by media monitoring platform Streem revealed that Coles Group sits at number 13 out of Australia’s top 20 CEOs speaking in the media about striving for a more sustainable future.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said Coles’ purpose to sustainably feed all Australians to help them lead healthier, happier lives is aligned with and supports the achievement of the UNSDGs.

“Our strategy is focussed on acting together now for generations of Australians ahead. We understand our responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint and to show leadership in protecting our planet and climate. We have identified powerful initiatives across how we use energy, how we can move towards a circular economy, as well as how we will continue to improve our sustainable sourcing.

“We are not working alone. Our relationships with our team members, shareholders, farmers, suppliers, partners, customers and communities drive our sustainability agenda forward. We want to win together in the best interests of all, including through our Australian First Sourcing Policy.

“We have already made meaningful progress on our commitment to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by the end of FY25.”

Coles is the  first Australian retailer to announce a power purchase agreement, the first of these was with solar farms in Corowa, New South Wales. Coles also has renewable electricity agreements with Lal Lal Windfarms, CleanCo, ENGIE and Neoen. These combined renewable electricity agreements provide enough to power more than 750 average sized supermarkets.


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