Sparks of change for Woolworths’ grocery delivery

Sparks of change for Woolworths’ grocery delivery

Woolworths New Zealand has committed to delivering greener groceries to online customers with an ambition to transition 100 percent of its home delivery trucks to be electric powered by 2030.

The announcement comes as the retailer releases its 2023 Sustainability Wrap and is the first commitment of its kind for a New Zealand supermarket.

The move is expected to add approximately 300 trucks to the country’s electric vehicle fleet over the next seven years, with Woolworths New Zealand delivering thousands of online orders to customers each day from Kerikeri to Invercargill.

Woolworths New Zealand Managing Director, Spencer Sonn says that it’s critical for businesses like Woolworths to take a leadership role in switching to lower emissions vehicles and backing electric options.

“The need for a low carbon future has never been more clear, and we know we need to take action today to ensure we’re leaving a better tomorrow for those coming after us.

“We have one of the biggest home delivery truck fleets in the country, and we hope this will encourage more businesses to look at making the change over to electric vehicles too.

“It’s certainly not going to be a simple move, with some of our trucks travelling as far as 300 kilometres in one day, but we’re determined to get to 2030 with a fully electric fleet. We took a lot of learnings from our first five EV trucks and will be working closely with our drivers to ensure our transition is carefully phased over the next seven years and balances practicality with ambition,” says Spencer.

The supermarket retailer first introduced electric vehicles to its home delivery fleet in 2019 with support from EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).

Richard Briggs, Group Manager at EECA, says it’s fantastic to see Woolworths New Zealand taking the next step with the ambitious commitment to reach 100% electric in their fleet.

“One of the aims of EECA’s funding support is to reduce the risk for businesses investing in the first steps of transitioning to more efficient options and help them then feel more confident to make larger investments down the line.

“This is exactly what’s happened here with us supporting Woolworths’ first five electric vehicles and them now setting a much more extensive ambition,” says Richard.

Woolworths New Zealand has also recently released its 2023 Sustainability Wrap which details progress against its sustainability commitments for the year ended 30 June 2023. Highlights for the year include reducing the business’ gender pay gap to 1.4%, donating more than $12 million of food and funds to local communities, and removing 114 tonnes of virgin plastic from the Own Brand milk range.

The business’ electric ambition is part of a wider Woolworths Group commitment to have reduced its overall operational transport emissions by around 60 per cent by 2030 compared to today, and to have decommissioned more than 3,000 internal combustion engine vehicles from its company-wide fleet by that time.

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