‘Disingenuous’ Coles slammed by industry body after ceasing catalogue delivery

Coles’ decision to stop printing and distributing its catalogues to consumers has been slammed by The Real Media Collective (TRMC).

The industry association representing the interests of companies in the paper, print, publishing/media and related distribution sectors across Australia, said Coles’ assertion that the decision was related to sustainability was “disingenuous”. Coles attributed the decision to changing consumer behaviour alongside its commitment to sustainability.

Coles has said that from September it will cease all catalogue deliveries, replacing them with a digital platform. Catalogues will still be available instore.

TRMC CEO Kellie Northwood called the supermarket chain “disingenuous”.

“The claim that Coles is stopping production of its supermarket catalogues due to environmental concerns is simply disingenuous,” said Northwood.

“For every Coles customer spending 60 seconds browsing a digital catalogue, they will emit 12g of CO2 compared to looking at a printed catalogue for a day and only emitting 0.5g of CO2 [according to Climate Care]. All of Coles’ catalogues are made from a renewable resource, using bio-diverse and planted forestry principles, and the papermaking process is powered by hydro-electricity – paper carries the highest environmental credentials over e-waste and CO2 powered digital streaming.”

Northwood went on to say that as the change is likely to result in job cuts, it should have been considered further.

“In an era where Australia is in recession and double-digit unemployment is looming, the impact of Australian job losses should be met with concern, especially when supermarkets have made record profits from the COVID pandemic. Digital media channels reduce local employment and contribution to local economies, and regional economies will suffer the most with major employment for paper manufacture being within Maryvale, Victoria and Boyer, Tasmania.

“We know that a lot of Australians rely on catalogues to plan and budget for their weekly shopping, both for themselves and their families, there are many Australians who are being left behind by big brands and digital social exclusion is a growing divide. With this example, our most vulnerable, will not have access to the best offers from Coles Supermarket catalogues once they go online.”

IVE Group, which currently holds the contract for Coles’ print and distribution, has advised that the changes will have a $35 – $40m impact on the company’s revenue. The catalogue is currently delivered to the homes of around 7m Australians using 14,000 walkers, according to an ASX announcement made today.

IVE Group said Coles has advised its monthly in-store magazine will continue to print and its in-store catalogue order will increase.

IVE Group is due to announce its financial results on August 25 and has advised it will provide full details of its financial implications then. The business said it has already put plans in place to deal with the economic downturn of COVID-19.


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