Aussie retailers donate $100 million of excess stock to charity organisation

Australian retailers and brands including Big W, L’Oreal Australia, Lush and Woolworths have collectively donated $100 million worth of brand new surplus stock to the not-for-profit organisation Good360 over the past five years, helping families in need across the country.

The not-for-profit works with schools and charities, such as Vinnies, The Salvation Army and Rural Aid, to distribute everyday items like clothing, toiletries, bedding, backpacks and other essentials to families in need.

Good360 on Tuesday revealed it had reached the $100 million donation milestone, up from $30 million around this time two years ago.

Good360 managing director Alison Covington, who launched the organisation in Australia in 2015, said the team had doubled the number of charities it works with, improved its technology, which allows charities to view the items retailers have donated online, and onboarded more businesses over the past few years.

“We’re constantly building out our capacity to work with bigger partners,” Covington told Inside Retail.

The organisation is anticipating further growth since ex-Super Retail Group CEO Peter Birtles joined the board in August.

Birtles will serve as a mentor for Covington, who doesn’t have a retail background, and provide connections to other senior retail leaders that may be interested in offloading excess stock to Good360.

“It’s the expert retail background, the knowledge of the scale of the problem [of excess stock] and how we can assist businesses [with the problem],” Covington said about the skills Birtles brings to the table.

Distributing items to families in need is just one part of Good360’s value proposition. The organisation also positions itself as a way for retailers and brands to responsibly dispose of the excess stock they are left with when a product sells poorly, the weather is uncharacteristically hot or cold, or a logo changes.

Retailers and brands typically try to clear these items by discounting them, or selling them through third-party channels like DFO or Catch, but they cannot clear everything this way, and there are few good solutions for dealing with the remainder.

Donating excess stock to charities makes a lot of sense, but many retailers don’t have the internal resources to vet charities and distribute excess stock to partners. These are some of the core functions that Good360 provides. It also acts as a match-maker, to ensure the charities and schools it works with receive the items they actually need.

“The redirecting of surplus perishable food items has long been part of Australia’s retail DNA but Good360 are the first to do so with non-perishables such as clothes, toiletries, homewares, toys and much more at scale,” Covington said in a statement on Tuesday.

The organisation estimates that Australian businesses are sitting on $1.92 billion worth of surplus stock each year, and has set a target to distribute $1 billion worth of brand new goods to families in need by 2025.

Some of the major brands the Good360 works with include Big W, L’Oréal Australia, Lush, Woolworths, Best & Less, King Living, Catch Group and Moose Toysa. Big W alone has donated over 4.5 million items.

“I applaud these Australian businesses for taking sustainability into their own hands and helping those less fortunate at the same time,” Birtles said in a statement.

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