“The reality is that nearly one third (26 per cent) of young Australians plan to stop buying products from retailers that fail to step up and take sustainability actions.”
Here are some of the ways that major retailers are taking sustainability seriously in their businesses.
On the food front, McDonald’s unveiled its sustainability flagship store in Victoria at the beginning of 2021 – a store that operates entirely on renewable energy generated on-site.
There are myriad innovations included in this, the 1000th Aussie Macca’s outlet, as the fast food chain looks to extend sustainability improvements in its new-build restaurants.
The South Melton outlet operates purely on renewable energy generated on-site using a solar system.
A list of 25 measures to be introduced include using recycled materials in furniture and in the play areas, the recycling of Happy Meal toys, and initiating a front-of-house recycling system that will turn waste into packaging materials.
The sustainability initiatives aren’t all about recycling, though. Green-minded customers will be able to charge electric vehicles at the store, too.
The business will also buy carbon credits to offset deliveries made via Uber Eats and DoorDash.
Diana Grosmann, the national director of development at McDonald’s Australia, said: “Over the coming three years we plan to invest more than $500 million to open over 80 new restaurants across Australia, incorporating a range of core sustainability elements from restaurant 1000, including PlayPlaces made with recycled content and energy efficient equipment, as well as the use of 100 per cent renewable energy at some restaurants.”
Domino’s has ended its reliance on single-use plastic straws and spoons in more than 710 stores across the country.
The pizza chain estimates the change to biodegradable straws and wooden spoons will remove 2 metric tonnes or up to 2.85 million pieces of plastic from circulation each year.
In an industry first, Domino’s is also trialling a recyclable “lineless box”, using cutting edge technology to apply an approved food grade lining that will eliminate secondary plastic packaging from the supply chain.
The new concept is expected to boost franchisees’ business with reduced wastage and improved food preparation times in stores.
Domino’s Australia and New Zealand CEO Nick Knight said Domino’s is proud to be doing its part to help ease plastic pollution across the country.
“As Australia’s largest pizza company, we know we have the responsibility and opportunity to make a significant change and are proud to be taking positive steps forward by reducing plastic consumption, and our environmental footprint.
“By removing single-use plastic straws and cutlery like spoons from Domino’s stores, we will expel more than ~2 metric tonnes of plastic from our system.
“Recycling is also a great way to help cut down on the increasingly growing landfill problem, which is why we’re proud to use recycled materials in our sundae packaging and our thick shake cups are PET.”
The brand’s use of electric delivery bicycles since 2015 has reduced its carbon footprint; the goal is to achieve 2 million e-bike deliveries in Australia each year.
7-Eleven Australia has helped save more than 20 million takeaway cups from landfill, and signed up 100 schools to its recycling program.
The convenience chain’s coffee cup rescue initiative has reached a milestone in its three-year partnership with Simply Cups, a program that helps separate the cups from other waste streams and, using innovative new technologies, transforms them into items of higher value.
7-Eleven became the pioneer partner of Simply Cups, an initiative of Closed Loop, in 2018. Each year the chain sells more than 80 million cups.
Angus McKay, 7-Eleven Australia CEO and managing director, said, “Twenty million cups recycled is a great number to reach, but we want to increase the rate of recycling. We have more than 660 cup recycling units installed in our stores, and there’s hundreds of other recycling stations we’ve supported being installed in schools and other locations,” McKay said.
In late 2020, a new 7-Eleven #CupRescue Schools Program was launched with the goal of empowering young people to champion reducing single-use cups in landfill in their local communities, and there are already 100 schools participating.
“We’ll provide participating schools with free cup collection units to enable students and staff to collect cups at their school. All the school needs to do is collect cups and drop them off at their partnering 7-Eleven store.
“I’d love to get cup recycling at every high school in Australia with a local 7-Eleven,” said McKay.
Eco-friendly targets on the move
Parcel delivery is big business these days, reflecting the growth of online shopping. But as deliveries increase, so do carbon emissions. Well, one franchise, CouriersPlease, is taking steps to fix that with an ambitious environmental target – to be carbon neutral by 2025.
The action will save the equivalent of 1546 tonnes of coal, 1.7 million litres of petrol and slice nearly 14 million kilometres off the road – which is 540 laps around the Australian coastline.
The franchise is cutting back its carbon emissions across waste, energy use, staff travel and flights.
It offsets 10 per cent of emissions related to last-mile deliveries performed by their franchisees, which is in addition to offsetting its operational emissions.
Paul Roper, chief commercial officer at CP, said a delivery app ensures franchisees drive to an optimised pickup and delivery route.
“Over time, their vehicles will also adopt new technologies and emission-savings tools to minimise emissions further,” he said.
Roper said the business is adopting green procurement. This process shifts the purchasing decisions away from cost and on to the complete life cycle of goods and services.
That means reduced pollution and waste, and better use of natural resources, he said.
Roper points to the importance of sustainability in today’s marketplace.
“Online retailers are becoming conscious of the need to work with eco-friendly shipping and fulfilment partners who share the same values,” he said.
JAX Tyres & Auto has opened the doors to its first retail store in South Australia and the first to be powered by solar panels.
The eco-friendly outlet is company owned and part of the company’s expansion plan to add at least eight new locations to take the total retail footprint to nearly 100.
The store has a commitment towards sustainable business practices and will be incorporating other environmentally conscious business programs and retail services.
Customers with electric vehicles can use a free electric charging station. The store team will also be involved in the company-wide initiative to phase out print invoices and participate in JAX Tyres & Auto’s national tyre recycling program via Tyrecycle.
Steve Grossrieder, JAX Tyres & Auto CEO and MD, said, “From high-quality tyre retailing, holistic vehicle maintenance solutions, to electric vehicle services and more, we are here to help drivers head out on South Australian roads with safety and surety.
“Keeping customers at the heart of everything we do at JAX Tyres & Auto is absolutely key for us, so when we saw that there was a strong and growing community of South Australians who were looking for a local bricks and mortar store, building our presence in this state to meet consumer demand became a major strategic focus for us,” he said.
JAX has been trading since 1949 and now has more than 87 franchised stores nationally and a growing e-commerce platform to deliver full automotive mechanical servicing and specialised sales of tyres, wheels, brakes, batteries and suspension.
The decision to launch the new store was driven by the state’s leading population growth and strong interest in the company’s products and services.
The company saw an increase of 87 per cent in website traffic from the region in Q1 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. This figure was more than double the company’s national website traffic growth, which had increased by 42 per cent in the same timeframe.
This article as published in Inside Franchise Business