GM of Sustainability
ESG _ Case study
about Brooke

Brooke has over 25 years’ experience working across sustainability, circular economy, recycling, product stewardship and stakeholder collaboration.

Brooke is currently the General Manager, Sustainability for the Coles Group. In her role Brooke leads the Coles teams to deliver on circular economy activities, climate and energy initiatives, sustainability reporting and engagement across all Coles businesses to support their ambitious goal to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.

During her career Brooke has been responsible for the strategic design and delivery of a range of strategic national and cross regional initiatives such as the Product Stewardship Cluster, the 2025 National Packaging Targets, the Australasian Recycling Label and the ANZPAC Plastics Pact.

Brooke has worked across a diverse range of recycling, product stewardship and sustainability organisations such as, APCO, Visy Industrial Packaging, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, and ANZRP.


What inspired Coles Group to prioritise environmental sustainability and what is the company’s vision for the future?

Coles’ purpose is to sustainably help all Australians lead healthier, happier lives. Minimising our environmental footprint and helping protect the planet are important aspects of this.

Back in 2019, when we incorporated sustainability into our corporate strategy, we focused on what was most important to our customers – packaging and food waste.

We also understood many of our stakeholders, including our investors, wanted to know how we were managing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

So, we brought these and other ESG issues together to create our Sustainability Strategy, which is built around two pillars - Together to Zero and Better Together.

Together to Zero focuses on reducing our environmental impacts. Better Together recognises that when we work together, we can make a real difference to our team, our suppliers, our customers and to the communities in which we live and work.

The importance of sustainable business practices, as well as stakeholder expectations, will continue to grow and we’re continually thinking about what’s on the horizon in terms of sustainability issues in Coles’ operating environment.


What are the key environmental sustainability initiatives you are implementing in your organisation & what have the benefits been?

Our commitments include using 100% renewable electricity by the end of June 2025. I’m pleased to say we now have all agreements in place to achieve this.

We are committed to working with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to achieve Australia’s 2025 packaging targets. This includes all packaging being 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable.

Our customers tell us they want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling but this is often difficult or confusing so, to make it easier, we’re putting the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) onto all our Coles Own Brand products. This will help guide customers on how to correctly dispose of packaging.  Pleasingly, we now have this label on more than 4,400 of our products.

We are also focused on food waste – not only because it’s a significant source of emissions, but also because edible food shouldn’t be wasted when we know there are many people in our community struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Every Coles supermarket and distribution centre has a food waste solution and since 2011, Coles has donated the equivalent of 185.3 million meals to Australians in need through our partnership with the food rescue organisation SecondBite.


How are you educating your teams on environmental sustainability and involving them in your sustainability strategy?

With a comprehensive Sustainability Strategy in place, it’s now about operationalising it across the Coles Group.

At Coles, we’re focused on integrating the company’s sustainability ambition into our everyday operations across the Coles Group, tying everything we do back to the strategy.

We provide team members education, tools and resources to help them achieve the changes we want to see. This includes webinars with external experts, learning modules and internal discussion forums to share sustainability information and practical tips.

We also hold a Sustainability Week each year dedicated to motivating and mobilising team members around key sustainability focus areas – particularly waste in stores, in alignment with our Together to zero waste ambition.


What advice do you have for leaders/organisations who are embarking on their sustainability journey?

Sustainability is a dynamic and constantly evolving space so you can’t stand still.

Regularly assessing the environmental and social risks and opportunities across your operations, combined with meaningful and authentic stakeholder engagement, helps you identify your most material impacts (positive and negative).  From there you can develop targets and metrics aimed at improving your performance.  

Having a robust sustainability governance framework in place is also key, particularly in the context of avoiding ‘greenwashing’ and making sure you’re doing what you say you are.

And finally, I’d say think carefully about how you’ll disclose your sustainability achievements and challenges to the market.  Sustainability reporting, while not mandated in Australia, is fast becoming a business norm, particularly for ASX-listed companies. There is no doubt that regulators and investors are increasingly expecting decision-useful and transparent information and companies need to keep pace.

Light Warrior
Partner, Energy, Climate & Sustainability
Deloitte Asia Pacific
Grok Ventures

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