Supermarkets and other retail
Australia's largest supermarket operator, and NZ's second largest. Sold Dick Smith Electronics in 2012, closed its failed Masters hardware chain in Dec 2016, sold its petrol retail business to Euro Garages in 2019, and spun off its liquor retail and hospitality businesses in 2021, creating ASX-listed Endeavour Group.
RatingAbout the Ratings
Praise Criticism Information
Woolworths Group Ltd
In 2022, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change Score of A-.
Source: CDP (2022)
The 2021 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report ranks global food companies on how they are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare policies and practices. This company appeared in tier 2, "Integral to business strategy", with tier 1 being the best, and tier 6 the worst.
Source: BBFAW (2021)
This company received a packaging performance level of 4 (Leading) in its 2022 APCO Annual Report. Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. Each year, APCO Members are required to submit an APCO Annual Report and Action Plan, which includes an overall performance level from 1 (Getting Started) to 5 (Beyond Best Practice).
Source: APCO (2022)
Greenpeace's Reenergise campaign ranks Australia's biggest electricity using companies on their commitments and actions regarding renewable energy use. This company has: committed to powering their operations by 100% renewable electricity by 2030; signed at least one power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy power from a wind or solar project; invested in on-site solar.
Source: Greenpeace (2021)
This company has signed the 'Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh', a program endorsed by Bangladeshi and international unions and labor rights organizations. The ground-breaking program includes independent safety inspections with public reports, mandatory factory building renovations, the obligation by brands and retailers to underwrite the cost of repairs, and a vital role for workers and their unions – all in a legally-binding, enforceable agreement.
Source: Bangladesh Accord (2019)
In 2020/21 KnowTheChain benchmarked over 180 large global companies in the ICT, Food & Beverage, and Apparel & Footwear sectors on their efforts to address forced labour and human trafficking in their supply chains. This company received a score of 52/100.
Source: KnowTheChain (2021)
In 2021 Mighty Earth and Be Slavery Free released their Easter Chocolate Shopping Guide, a scorecard which ranks retailers on transparency and cocoa sustainability practices in regards to deforestation, farmer poverty and child labour. It does not assess effectiveness or implementation. This company is rated as "Leading the industry on policy".
Source: Be Slavery Free (2021)
The 2022 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 127 companies in the food and agriculture, ICT and automotive manufacturing sectors on their human rights performance. This company received a score of 36.2%. The overall average score was a disappointing 17.3% and the highest score was 50.3%.
Modern slavery disclosure is a critical step in mitigating the risk associated with modern slavery practices in companies' operations and supply chains. The quality of the disclosure signals the level of commitments and efforts that the companies have put in managing these risks. In 2021 the Monash Centre for Financial Studies analysed and ranked the disclosure quality of the modern slavery statements submitted by the 300 largest listed companies on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX300). This company's modern slavery disclosure statement received a grade of A.
Source: Monash University (2021)
The 2021 Food and Agriculture Benchmark assessed 350 keystone companies across the entirety of the food system, from farm to fork. It covers three dimensions where transformation is needed: nutrition, environment and social inclusion. This company ranked #32/350, with a total score of 41/100.
For eggs to be labelled free range, the Model Code of Practice says there should be a maximum of 1500 hens per hectare. In 2020 Choice updated its list of which egg brands meet the Model Code. According to the report, this company uses a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare for its free range eggs, well in excess of the Model Code. Their Macro branded organic free range eggs use a stocking density of 1,000 hens per hectare.
Source: Choice (2020)
This company received a score of 17.1/100 in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2017, which ranks the world's largest publicly traded companies on eight indicators covering energy, greenhouse gases, water, waste, fines and penalties, linking executive pay to sustainability targets, board-level committee oversight of environmental issues and third-party audits. Ranking methodology by Corporate Knights and HIP Investor.
Source: Newsweek (2017)
Forest 500 identifies the 350 companies and 150 financial institutions with the greatest exposure to tropical deforestation risk, and annually assesses them on the strength and implementation of their deforestation and human rights commitments. This company received a score of 35%.
Source: Forest 500 (2021)
In 2019 Break Free From Plastic engaged 72,541 volunteers in 51 countries to conduct 484 brand audits. These volunteers collected 476,423 pieces of plastic waste, 43% of which was marked with a clear consumer brand. While not in the global top 10, this company ranked as Australia's worst plastic polluter.
Source: #breakfreefromplastic (2019)
In 2020 this company paid a $1 million penalty, handed down by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in response to more than five million breaches of spam law. The ACMA discovered that Woolworths sent marketing emails to consumers, between October 2018 and July 2019, even though they had previously unsubscribed from these messages. The infringement notice for $1,003,800 is the largest ever issued by the ACMA.
Source: news article (2020)
In 2021 Woolworths announced it had provisionally settled a class action lawsuit filed against it by a Canberra law firm in 2019 for underpaying supermarket workers. The retailer said it would make an ex-gratia payment of $2,500 plus superannuation to about 20,000 current and former salaried team store members. This takes the total payments to staff under the class action settlement to around $50 million.
Source: ACCC (2021)
On 5 Feb 2016, the Federal Court of Australia ordered Woolworths to pay penalties of over $3 million for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law relating to safety issues with house brand products sold in Woolworths supermarkets, Big W and Masters stores.
Source: ACCC (2016)
In June 2016 the Federal Court ordered Woolworths to pay total penalties of $9 million in laundry detergent cartel proceedings brought by the ACCC. Woolworths was knowingly concerned in an anti-competitive understanding which they admitted was reached between laundry detergent manufacturers.
Source: ACCC (2016)
In Jan 2016 Woolworths was ordered to pay over $11 million in damages to private property developer North East Solution, after it ditched a deal for the construction of a Masters hardware store. The Supreme Court of Victoria ruled that Woolworths failed to act in good faith with North East Solution after the retail giant unfairly terminated the agreement it had with the Victorian developer to build a Masters store in the regional Victorian city of Bendigo, and lease the site for 12 years.
Source: Inside Retail (2016)
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 36/100 in the Food & Staples Retailing category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 16 Dec 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
Source: S&P Global (2022)
Safeway & Woolworths have been awarded Environment Victoria's 'People's Choice Award' in their 2007 DUMP report. Criticised for needlessly packing fruit and vegetables, particularly organic products, on polystyrene trays and covering them with cling wrap.
This 2013 report by The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) investigates the labour and human rights risks in supply chain sourcing. This company is identified on page 21 as a company which sources products from countries with known systemic labour and human rights concerns.
Source: ACSI (2013)
Woolworths received widespread criticism in 2007/8 for its green-washing campaign surrounding the Select toilet paper and tissues, which they were sourcing from Asia Pulp Paper.
Source: Expose Woolworths (2008)
In August 2007 the giant supermarket chain Woolworths was revealed to be marketing some of its own tissue and paper products sporting a 'Sustainable Forest Fibre' logo and stating that they were made from 'a certified environmentally managed company that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible'. While the products indicated that they were sourced from Indonesia, the only hint as to which company was the supplier were the letters APP on one tissue pack (APP is the acronym for Asia Pulp and Paper). [Listed under information due to age of report]
Source: Sourcewatch (2007)
In 2011 the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Complaints Resolution Panel upheld a complaint about an ad by this company on the grounds that it breached advertising codes. The ad was subsequently withdrawn.
Source: TGA Complaints Register (2011)
Involved in sale of tobacco-related products as a non-core business.
Source: company website (2020)
This company has been criticised for offensive advertising. In 2020 the Advertising Standards Bureau upheld complaints about internet ads by this company on the grounds that they breached advertising codes. The ads were subsequently discontinued or modified.
Yellow rating in Greenpeace Canned Tuna Guide. "Woolworths' private labels took 8th place this year. Woolworths have made good commitments in the past, but it needs to back these up with a commitment to transparency. Woolworths should provide more evidence to verify the traceability of their tuna and other sustainability and ethical sourcing commitments. Not all of its private label tuna cans are labelled with the specific catch method. Woolworths is also the only major retailer continuing to stock Greenseas, the last brand still using destructive FADs. We look forward to seeing Woolworths do better next year."
Source: Canned Tuna Guide (2017)
Independent testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth found potentially harmful nanoparticles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and silica (SiO2) in a range of food products including products by this company. The silica and titanium dioxide in all 14 food products tested contained a high proportion of nanoparticles that have not been tested, labelled or approved for consumption in Australia. Furthermore, peer reviewed studies have raised health serious health concerns regarding the use of these nanoparticles in food.
Source: FOE (2015)
In Dec 2006 the Federal Court of Australia ordered Woolworths to pay $7 million plus legal fees, for entering into and giving effect to illegal anticompetitive agreements with small business liquor licence applicants. In his judgment Justice Allsop described Woolworths' purpose in entering into the agreements as aimed at preventing the entry of new competitors into local retail packaged takeaway liquor markets so as to protect Woolworths' liquor businesses.[noted as Information due to age of court order]
Source: ACCC (2006)
On 14 April 2014, the Federal Court of Australia found supermarket giant Woolworths breached an undertaking on fuel shopper dockets, but that its rival Coles did not break the agreement. Woolworths had breached the agreement for the first three months of 2014, when it offered discounts of up to eight cents a litre.
Source: ACCC (2014)
In June 2016 the Fair Work Ombudsman issued a report criticising Woolworths with a finding that some trolley collectors working at its supermarkets were being paid as little as $10 an hour. 79% of sites visited had indications of some form of non-compliance with workplace laws, with 49% of sites presenting serious issues.
Source: Fair Work Ombudsman (2016)
In 2021 Woolworths paid $44.5 million to settle a class action with shareholders, who may have bought shares at an inflated price because of improper company reporting.
Source: news article (2021)
According to the democracyforsale.net website, this company donated $178,505 to Australia's major political parties between 2012 and 2018, as disclosed to the Australian Electoral Commision (AEC).
Source: Democracy For Sale (2018)
This company manufactures or distributes products that are certified organic under the Australian Certified Organic label.
Source: ACO (2022)
This company sells Rainforest Alliance certified products. However this only represents a fraction of this company's total private label products sales. Rainforest Alliance certification has been dubbed 'Fairtrade light' by critics, as it offers producers no minimum price for their crop, and guarantees a minimum of just 30% of the product is certified.
Source: Rainforest Alliance (2020)
This company is an FSC Australia Retail Supporter. A Retail Supporter is an organisation that sells FSC Certified products (among others) to consumers. These are companies who not only wish to sell certified products, but promote and support FSC at the same time.
Source: FSC Australia (2017)
Some, but not necessarily all, of this company's products are palm oil free, or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). For more details, follow the link to see Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia's list of products which manufacturers have told them are palm oil free or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil.
Source: BOS Australia (2020)
This company has agreed to phase out the use of microbeads in their own-brand products by 2017. These particles are not retained by wastewater treatment so end up in the ocean. While microbeads aren't thought to be a health hazard to consumers, they are a threat to the marine environment.
Source: CHOICE (2016)
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target; commit to 100% renewable power.
Source: We Mean Business (2021)
This company sells Fairtrade Certified coffee. However this only represents a fraction of their total coffee sales.
Source: Fairtrade ANZ (2018)
This company is listed by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as a Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation holder. The citation is designed to encourage, recognise and promote active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces.
Source: WGEA (2022)
All Woolworths brand chicken products use humanely farmed RSPCA Approved chicken. These farms raise their birds in an enriched barn environment. Chickens enjoy space to move, good lighting and can perch, dustbathe and forage.
Source: RSPCA Australia (2020)
This company is listed on the RSPCA Australia website as 'cage-free and proud', signifying a commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. Essentially cage-free means barn laid, which is better than cage eggs, but still much worse than free-range or organic eggs when it comes to animal welfare.
Source: RSPCA Australia (2020)
Between 2015 and 2018 this company paid $2.3 billion tax on a total income of $149 billion, earning the number 9 spot on Michael West's Top 40 Tax Payers 2020. West calculated which of Australia's largest companies have paid the most tax using three years of tax transparency data published by the Australian Tax Office.
Source: Michael West (2018)
In March 2014 Woolworths published the names and addresses of 52 factories in Bangladesh, which Woolworths Limited's retail brands (including BIG W) source from.
Source: company website (2014)
This company has sustainability claims on its website, including sustainability reports. Environmental claims cover animal welfare, sustainable seafood, GMOs, responding to climate change, sustainable forestry products and sustainable tea, coffee and chocolate.
Source: company website (2020)
From 2018 Woolworths is partnering with WWF Australia to further improve sustainable fisheries and seafood sourcing. WWF Australia is providing technical and strategic advice to guide Woolworths' seafood sustainability efforts. This includes assessing the ecological sustainability of Woolworth's seafood supply chain across Woolworths Own Brand seafood products, as well as all seafood products sold at the seafood counter in Woolworths stores. Woolworths is committed to improving tracking and labelling processes to ensure that all seafood products sold in their stores are traceable from source to sale.
Source: WWF Australia (2018)
This company has signed up to the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, which governs certain conduct by grocery retailers and wholesalers in their dealings with suppliers. It has rules relating to grocery supply agreements, payments, termination of agreements, dispute resolution and a range of other matters.
Source: ACCC (2015)
This company is a member of Bonsucro - Better Sugar Cane Initiative, a global non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation fostering the sustainability of the sugarcane sector through its leading metric-based certification scheme and its support for continuous improvement for members.
Source: Bonsucro (2019)
The United Nations Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. However it's non-binding nature has been widely criticised, and many signatory corporations continue to violate the Compact's values.
Source: UN Global Compact (2020)
The Material Change Index (MCI) is a voluntary benchmark that tracks the apparel and textiles sector's progress toward more sustainable materials sourcing (cotton, polyester, nylon, manmade cellulosics, wool, down and leather), as well as alignment with global efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals and the transition to a circular economy. This company was rated "Maturing", the second highest performance band.
Source: Textile Exchange (2020)
The WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2021 assesses 227 companies on the actions companies have taken to ensure their own palm oil supply chain is sustainable and free of deforestation, natural ecosystem conversion, and human rights abuse. This company is rated 'middle of the pack' with a score of 14.06 out of a possible total of 24.
The Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge (Transparency Pledge) helps demonstrate apparel and footwear companies' commitment towards greater transparency in their manufacturing supply chain. Transparency of a company's manufacturing supply chain better enables a company to collaborate with civil society in identifying, assessing, and avoiding actual or potential adverse human rights impacts. This is a critical step that strengthens a company's human rights due diligence. This company has published limited supplier factory information, and falls well short of the Pledge standard.
Source: Transparency Pledge (2019)
57 billion AUD (2018)
Endeavour Group Ltd (9% owned)
Became a standalone company in June 2021 as a result of Woolworths' demerging its retail drinks and hospitality businesses. Endeavour owns 1643 retail liquor stores under the Dan Murphy's and BWS brands, specialty retail and online brands Cellarmasters, Langton's, Jimmy Brings and Shorty's Liquor, and drinks manufacturer and supplier Pinnacle Drinks. Endeavour also owns a portfolio of 339 licensed venues with 12,364 poker machines and about 290 TABs and KENO outlets. Australia's largest owner of poker machines, and third largest gambling operator.
Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group Pty Ltd
Pubs, hotels, alcohol retail and gaming
Part of Endeavour Group, the retail drinks and hospitality business that was demerged from Woolworths in 2021. ALH Group owns and operates over 300 licensed venues, and over 550 retail liquor outlets across Australia. Brands include BWS and Dan Murphy's. Australia's largest owner of poker machines, with more than 12,000 machines.
This former Woolworths subsidiary was set up in August 2012 to take its private label liquor strategy to a more sophisticated level. Owns the Dorrien Estate winemaking facility in the Barossa. Now part of Endeavour Group, which became a standalone company in 2021 following a demerger from Woolworths.
The first BIG W branded standalone store opened its doors in 1976 in Tamworth. Today there are 176 stores around Australia.
Woolworths New Zealand Ltd
Progressive Enterprises was bought by Woolworths in 2005 and changed its name to Woolworths New Zealand in 2020. Owns and operates over 180 Countdown supermarkets in New Zealand, and is also the franchisor of the Super Value and FreshChoice supermarkets.
Beak & Johnston Pty Ltd (23% owned)
Meats, ribs, soups and sauces supplier
Established in 1986. Provides private-label meat and convenience foods for Woolworths, as well as supplying restaurants and selling their own branded goods. Acquired NZ based organic soup maker Pitango in 2013, and the Ready Chef and Pasta Master ready meal brands from General Mills in 2020. Woolworths owns a 23% stake.
Pitango Pty Ltd
Fresh meal manufacturer
Pitango make packaged organic fresh meals in New Zealand. Their products are for sale in Australia, NZ, Hong Kong and Canada. Acquired by Gourmet Food Holdings in 2008, who sold it to Beak & Johnson in March 2013.
1 Woolworths Way, Bella Vista, NSW, 2153, Australia
02 8885 0000
Products / BrandsWoolworths
Apollo Dog Food
Armada Party & Picnic Needs
Baxters Pet Food (chilled)
Baxters Dog Food
Bell Farms Frozen Vegies/Chips
Bell Farms Baked Beans/Spaghetti
Clean Stain Removal & Prewash
Confidere Incontinence Needs
Essentials House Brands
Evamay Feminine Hygiene
Farmers' Own Milk
Homebrand House Brands
Little One's Baby Wipes
Little One's Nappies
Macro House Brands
★ some products certified organic
Macro Health Foods
Select House Brands
Shine Dishwashing Detergent
Smitten Cat Food
Strike Window & Glass Cleaners
Strike Floor Cleaners
Strike Multi-Purpose Cleaners
Strike Toilet Cleaners
Thomas Dux Cheese
Titan Paper Towels
Vevelle Toilet Paper
Voeu House Brands
Woolworths House Brands
Your Majesty Cat Food
BWS Liquor Stores
Dan Murphys Liquor Stores
1495 Scotch Whisky
Arc Valley Beer
Finnlaighs Whisky (other)
Island Fever Seltzer
John Boston Beer
Liberty Coast Seltzer
Loud & Proud Seltzer
Loud & Proud Beer
McAllister Scotch Whisky
Mishka Premix Spirits
Nelson County Premix Spirits
Nelson County Bourbon
Rey Loco Premix Spirits
Rollins Whisky (other)
Substation No. 41 Premix Spirits
Substation No. 41 Rum
Tequila 125 Tequila
Avella Womens Plus Size
Big W Electronics Stores
Big W Department Stores
Big W Toy Stores
Big W Everyday Apparel
Big W Homewares Stores
Beak & Sons Cooking Sauce
Pasta Master Fresh Pasta
Ready Chef Fresh Pasta
Ready Chef Ready Meals
Simmone Logue Ready Meals
Simmone Logue Pies & Pasties
Strength Meals Co Ready Meals
Artisano Ready Meals
Pitango Ready Meals
★ certified organic