Our commitments to:
At Officeworks, we’re committed to supporting people and the planet. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it’s important to you and to us. We will continue to focus on expanding our impact beyond our networks and supply chains, to help drive real change for our team, our customers, and all the communities where we operate in, both at home and abroad. We’ve set some ambitious goals because we’re committed to making a lasting, positive difference by putting people and the planet at the heart of what we do.
Our commitments to:
The safety, health and wellbeing of our team and customers is our number one priority. Our goal is to make sure that everyone arrives home after working, shopping or visiting our business free from any kind of harm or injury.
We know that health and safety is not just about physical wellbeing, it is also supporting our team to achieve great mental health and wellbeing outcomes. In doing so, enabling them to bring their best selves to work every day, and enjoy the moments more when not at work.
In the past year we have continued to see improvement in our safety performance, resulting in our safest year yet with the Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) reducing to 6.1. In real terms, this means that during the past 12 months, 57 team members have lost one or more shifts due to an injury at work. While one injury is one too many, a TRIFR of 6.1 represents a 22.8 per cent reduction when compared to last year.
Contributing to these results was our hazard reduction strategic initiative, which delivered a transformation in the way in which team members and customers interacted with more than 300 big and bulky products. Transitioning these items to a direct delivery model reduced the need for manual handling from our team and customers, and therefore avoids the exposure to manual handling risks. From a physical safety perspective, we have also made positive progress in reducing our sprain and strain injuries instore which are attributed to performing manual handling tasks.
Beyond physical safety, we are giving our team access to tools and programs to support their mental health. Our mental health and wellbeing program, Your Best Life, is a holistic program that provides team members with tools, resources and initiatives to improve wellbeing, supporting our team to live their best life. Some of these initiatives include;
Our focus in the coming year continues to be empowering our team to live their best life through investment in mental health and wellbeing programs and embedding a safety mindset into everything we do. Teams will work collectively to assess and solve current challenges, correct each other’s behaviours and identify new ways to support continuous improvement. We plan to increase investments across mental health programs to empower all team members to care for and prioritise their own mental health. This includes providing ongoing education to help reduce stigma around mental illness and to ensure our leaders are equipped to best support their teams. Following the success of the Moving Mindz program in 2020, a new iteration of the program will also be launched.
We celebrate everyone from all walks of life and we’re creating a culture of belonging that’s reflected in the everyday behaviours demonstrated by team members at every location and at every level.
We recognise the value that diversity brings to our business and understand that diversity means many different things, including; individual life experience, skill, ability, age, ethnicity, religious and cultural background, family status and sexual orientation.
It’s important to us that our team members feel valued and accepted when they come to work, and that they belong. This is why we’ve created a new strategy to broaden our approach to diversity and help create an even more inclusive working environment.
This year we introduced specific questions relating to team members' sense of belonging in our annual engagement survey, Your Say. Through this survey, results showed us that more than 80 per cent of our team members feel like they belong at Officeworks and that they can bring their whole self to work knowing that we value diversity and inclusion.
The four pillars of our Diversity and Belonging (DB) plan enable us to make real changes for our team members, by building the capability to have vital and authentic discussions about equity, diversity and inclusion to become better together.
Our focus for FY2022 will continue across each of our four pillars under the Diversity and Belonging plan. We will continue to focus on the hiring, retention and career development of our Indigenous team members while building an ongoing awareness of our First Nations cultures, aligned to the Wesfarmers Reconciliation Action Plan. We will continue to expand our broader cultural awareness, taking an intersectional approach including identity, sexual orientation, disability and accessibility in supporting our diverse identities of team members. Finally, we will build on our flexible work culture to support a broad range of flexible and accessible work options for all our team members including working parents, carers and individuals who may have requirements for a flexible arrangement.
Our team members are central to the ongoing success of our business. As the world continues to evolve and adapt in response to new innovations and challenges, we need to make sure that our teams have the tools, capabilities and resources they need to succeed in their professional lives now and into the future. Like many Australian businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way we work, requiring us to adapt and respond to ongoing uncertainty, but providing us with numerous learning opportunities in the process.
Each year we conduct an annual engagement survey to measure overall team member engagement, and gather feedback relating to topics including career development, growth and learning opportunities. One of the strongest areas of feedback came from our instore managers who are seeking more development in the fundamental skills of being a leader. As a result, we have created and invested in developing Spark, a comprehensive development program that will support all line managers to build their confidence in core management and leadership skills.
We have continued to experience growth in our online channel, and as a result invested in supply chain technology solutions during the year as part of the Victorian Customer Fulfilment Centre relocation. Aside from improving fulfillment rates and speed to market, the key priority for us was to further enhance team member wellbeing, safety and job satisfaction through reducing repetitive tasks and manual handling. Existing team members had the opportunity to learn and expand their skillset with hands-on technical training, investing in them to have the right skills for the future and enabling them to continue to grow their careers with Officeworks.
Over the last year, our Support Office teams continued working remotely. We further invested in technology to support hybrid working, such as online collaboration tools, and strengthened our teams skills in virtual tools through online training programs.
Building our digital, analytics and supply chain capability will also continue to be critical as we grow our business and evolve our every channel offer as well as continuing to ensure our support office team members are equipped and supported to work in a flexible and hybrid way.
We understand that it is critical to continue upskilling our workforce and are supporting our team members' ongoing development so they can continue to deliver great service for our customers and provide meaningful roles for our team members.
We are also heavily focused on building Talent Management maturity and creating a healthy talent pipeline to support the internal career progression for our team members. Even with the challenges during the past year, more than 1,000 Officeworks team members were seconded to another role, promoted or had a transfer into another opportunity at Officeworks.
We will increase investment in several key areas to enable more of our team to continue to grow their career, skills and knowledge. This will include more than 300 leaders across the business undertaking our Spark leadership development program and exploring pathway programs to support the career progression for even more team members, as well as investing in further building the product knowledge of the whole team enabling them to deliver even better service to customers
Connecting with our communities and coming together has never been more important. That is why we are committed to supporting local communities where we operate and doing what we can to help build strong connections that help others overcome challenging circumstances and thrive.
We recognise that each community is different, and each faces unique challenges. That is why we empower our teams to support their local communities in ways that are relevant and right for them and their customers. To help us achieve our goal, this year we established a new local community engagement team, with dedicated team members across the country working to support our teams to better connect with and support their local communities.
A key initiative to support our commitment to raise $5m for local causes by 2025 is our annual Round Up to Make a Difference fundraising campaign, held in June each year. The campaign provides customers with the option to round up the cost of their purchase to the nearest dollar at the point of sale. At the same time, giving our team members the opportunity to champion causes and organisations that are important to them.
Due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on our communities, and particularly the not-for-profit sector, we identified the need to make a more meaningful contribution by focusing our efforts on two important areas of health and education. During the campaign in June 2020, we saw our customers and team members work together to raise more than $1m to support 17 organisations across Australia working to improve health and education outcomes. These much-needed funds enable the organisations to continue to achieve positive outcomes, such as Backpacks 4 Vic Kids providing 650 children with a Me Bag that contained essentials like soap, toothbrushes and two sets of clothes.
Our teams have formed strong, ongoing relationships with each organisation which has led to additional opportunities to support them, including team member volunteering and providing support through in-kind donations.
We will continue to hold our annual Round Up to Make a Difference campaign focusing on supporting health and education causes and will continue to build ongoing relationships with the organisations we support. With challenging circumstances continuing into the year ahead, we will keep our communities front of mind for our team members by encouraging a workplace culture where giving back and making a difference is both celebrated and rewarded.
There is a significant gap in education standards amongst students who are living in disadvantaged circumstances and those living in remote Indigenous communities, where literacy and numeracy levels are substantially lower than non-Indigenous communities.
As a leader in providing educational products for the education sector, promoting strong educational outcomes for all Australians, no matter what their circumstances, is one of our strategic priorities. Together, with our long-term partners The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) and The Smith Family we are identifying opportunities to support those students. The impact of COVID-19 has further highlighted the digital divide for Indigenous and disadvantaged students.
Through sponsorships and community support for the Wall of Hands and Back to School Appeals held during FY21, 7,525 Australian students will be supported through sponsorships and educational resources through a $3.2m financial contribution. We will continue to work with ALNF and The Smith Family to identify where the fundraising support will have the greatest impact. Our team and customers have shown passion and generosity throughout this year, greatly contributing to our aim to support 30,000 students across Australia who need it most by 2025.
Our next step is to identify ways to support students beyond our appeals by building programs which are scalable and year-round, and by measuring the long-term outcomes for students who have been helped. We will broaden what education support means to include other business focus areas such as sustainability, diversity and belonging.
Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, however we know they are often the first to face financial hardship in times of crisis.
As critical members of the community but also as our customers who rely on our products and services to run their business, we want to help small businesses survive through the COVID-19 pandemic and thrive when it is over.
This year, we’ve provided support to more than 3,000 small businesses when they’ve needed it most. As part of our commitment to becoming a part of where we live and work, our store teams are encouraged to connect with local schools, community groups, not-for-profit organisations and local businesses to lend a helping hand through in-kind donation or various community engagement initiatives.
Our team are quick to respond and support their communities during a crisis. The NSW floods and Perth bushfires highlighted the community spirit of our team. During these times of adversity our store teams, Customer Fulfilment Centres and support offices came together to commit time and resources to make a positive difference. More than $12,000 in products and cash was donated to local organisations providing disaster relief.
In February, we introduced a Local Community Engagement Team to put a renewed focus on supporting local communities where we live and work. This team helps stores make local connections and determine how and when to provide support.
While we have supported for more than 3,000 small businesses through our store teams, there is an opportunity for us to better understand how to make a more meaningful impact for small businesses in the communities where we live and work.
Given the ongoing challenges businesses have experienced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in FY22 we will reassess how we can best support local businesses and adapt their strategy and approach to best meet those notes.
We sell thousands of different products which come to us from all around the world and which are created by many different people along the way. These supply chains are complex, with products or components often being manufactured in countries where laws designed to protect workers’ rights are not sufficient or adequately enforced. We believe that all workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment, and that taking care of employees is better for people, and the businesses they work for.
We already have a well-established ethical sourcing program which all suppliers of goods and services are required to comply with. This program is designed to protect and uphold workers’ rights and reassure our customers that we source our products ethically. This year we reviewed 489 independent ethical sourcing audits and worked with suppliers to resolve 33 critical breaches.
We know that relying on audits alone does not necessarily provide the full picture of working conditions and employee concerns, which is why we have complemented our risk-based, audit-centric approach with an outcome-focused program aimed at improving worker wellbeing and engagement within our direct supply chain.
This year, we reviewed results from worker voice surveys we arranged to enable employee voices to be better heard and more often. This involved 949 workers at six factories completing surveys to share their concerns. Through this process, we identified issues such as deficient internal grievance channels, poor relationships with supervisors, workers not understanding their pay and workers wanting to work less or more hours. Using this information, we were then able to work with the management teams so that they could take appropriate action and embed positive change. In many cases this involved additional training or investing in new machinery to reduce excessive working hours.
Following our initial surveys, and the initiatives implemented, we conducted follow up surveys and were really pleased to see an improvement in worker satisfaction of 18 per cent. Through this program, this year we have enabled positive change for the 1,876 workers that work at the six factories involved in these surveys.
As this program continues to evolve, we will work closely with our suppliers to focus not only on identifying risks – but creating real, positive impacts on workers' lives. We will share the insights we have gained with more suppliers and encourage them to take more action based on their workers feedback, ultimately to provide better conditions for workers and better outcomes for their business.
Around the world, it is estimated there are currently 40 million people trapped in modern slavery. The Australian Department of Home Affairs defines modern slavery as situations where coercion, threats or deception are used to exploit people and undermine their freedom. Examples of common modern slavery practices today include servitude, forced labour, forced marriage, the worst forms of child labour, debt bondage, deceptive recruiting for labour or services and human trafficking.
In today’s highly globalised world where supply chains are long and complex, modern slavery presents a serious issue that all businesses need to work together to unite against and eradicate.
Since 2016, as part of Wesfarmers, we have released an annual modern slavery statement. The statement summarises the steps taken by Officeworks, and Wesfarmers more broadly, to identify and mitigate the risk of modern slavery in our operations and supply chains. We seek to work with our suppliers and non-government organisations to remediate and scale impact and promote a coordinated approach to tackling complex modern slavery issues.
All suppliers of goods and services must adhere to our Ethical Sourcing & Modern Slavery policy, which outlines the minimum standards required to work with us. To date, we have mapped over 28,000 of our products to the primary site of manufacturing, with 578 manufacturers involved in our ethical sourcing audit program. We support this approach with other targeted initiatives such as foreign migrant worker assessments, used in countries where the risk of forced labour is higher due to the level of migrant workers. During the year, we developed a bespoke self-assessment questionnaire to enable us to assess modern-slavery risk and corresponding corrective actions which all medium and high-risk service providers were required to complete.
We recognise there are inherent and urgent issues relating worker exploitation within the Australian cleaning industry, and this year became a member of the Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF). CAF is an organisation that brings businesses, unions, government, and workers together to help improve the labour conditions within the Australian cleaning industry. Through our membership, our aim is to contribute to the development of the retail certification standards to improve outcomes for workers.
Throughout the year, we focused on building a greater awareness and understanding of modern slavery across our business. We launched an online modern slavery training module that was completed by over 300 of our team members and conducted targeted training on how to identify instances of forced labour.
We will continue to work with our suppliers, partners, and non-government organisations to investigate and remediate allegations of modern slavery, and expand our supply chain transparency beyond the primary site of manufacturing, beginning with those supply chains most at risk of modern slavery.
In an increasingly digital world, in which we are sharing and generating more data than ever before, the way in which data is used and protected has never been more important. Even in the context of data, upholding the right to privacy is a fundamental human right.
Digital privacy is a complex issue. While some of our customers prefer a personalised experience when shopping with us, others prefer to keep their anonymity. We are committed to using data responsibly and ethically in line with customer expectations and maintain our promise to never sell our customers' data to third parties.
As we continued to strengthen our data governance, and in line with our commitment to maintaining and building customer trust, this year the Officeworks Executive Leadership Team adopted specific consent management principles to be applied in each area that we collect and use customer information. These principles further reinforce our desire to provide a compliant, transparent, and mutually beneficial model for obtaining consent to use, manage and disclose customer information, where the customer can retain control of what they share and can manage their preferences at any time.
During FY2022, Officeworks will continue to adapt and respond to the evolving nature of data management, and put in place appropriate governance approaches to ensure they stay abreast of such challenges and continue to enhance their approach to date. We will be focusing on how we can increase transparency with our customers, maintain our high standards of data security, and continue to use the data we do have in an ethical and responsible way.
It is undeniable that our climate is changing, and we are already seeing the impact of this change across the world, from increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns to catastrophic natural disasters. We believe that every business has a role to play in reaching a net-zero emissions future and limiting global warming to well below 2°, and preferably 1.5°, this century, compared to pre-industrial levels. This is a limit which scientists say we need to achieve if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and is the goal of the global Paris Agreement.
Over the last five years we’ve invested in energy efficiency initiatives that reduce our energy consumption, because the most sustainable energy is the energy you don’t need in the first instance. This has been the primary driver of reducing our emissions by 32% since 2015, despite growing our store network.
As we now look to increase the role of renewable energy, this year we started the first phase of our onsite solar energy rollout, with the first seven stores installed. Data from these initial installations shows that the solar energy systems have, on average, reduced electricity consumption needed from the grid by over 50%. Importantly, the insights from the process, including how we best engage with landlords, has informed our approach for our second phase in which we are targeting 50 stores over the next two years.
We are continuing to improve our energy efficiency across all parts of our business. During FY2021, this included conducting a lighting audit across 149 stores to identify other light fixtures that are not yet LED. While all shop floors have LED lighting installed, we identified a further 11,000 light fittings that we can change, including exterior lighting and in the goods-receiving area. Additionally, we opened a new store in Warana that utilised a heat reflective roof paint to reduce the air conditioning requirements at the store.
We will accelerate the rollout of our onsite solar energy systems, and as the cost of batteries continues to reduce look to trial this technology at selected sites, including at our new Victorian Customer Fulfilment Centre. We will continue to invest in energy efficiency initiatives by replacing all non-LED lighting across our Victorian and NSW stores, and review the data of the trials implemented in FY2021 to understand future opportunities. We have entered into an arrangement for renewable energy that supports our commitment to be 100 per cent renewable by 2025. More details to follow in the new year.
Trees play a critical role in managing climate change by capturing and storing climate warming greenhouse gases. However, in Australia, we are losing trees at an alarming rate, and in some regions, up to 85 per cent of the natural landscape has been lost. Not only is this concerning when it comes to climate change, but it also means that native wildlife is being significantly impacted by habitat loss.
We have a big goal, to plant two million trees by 2025 with the help of our customers and planting partner, Greening Australia. We are on track to achieve this through our ongoing initiative, Restoring Australia, in which we plant two trees for every one used, based on the weight of paper products purchased by our customers. Through the initiative, we are working with Greening Australia to restore 2,500 hectares of land to improve and protect natural habitats for Australia's native wildlife and threatened and endangered species.
Since the program's launch in 2017, a total of 794,000 trees have been planted and 1,500 hectares of land has been restored. Once these trees reach maturity, the positive collective impact of these new trees is the equivalent of taking more than 185,000 cars off the road for a year.
The program now has 18 planting sites across Australia and these efforts are already seeing wildlife return to their natural areas. A recent sighting of the very rare and nationally endangered Australian Painted Snipe at our wetland restoration site at Mungalla Station, Queensland, is just one example of the impact that this restoration work is having.
During FY2022, we expect to plant close to 250,000 trees and will reach a key milestone of one million trees planted. We will continue to help our customers shop sustainably, by encouraging them to purchase their paper products at Officeworks and in doing so, contributing to Restoring Australia.
While a significant amount of the emissions we are directly responsible for relate to energy usage, we are aware that indirect emissions, such as those relating to the manufacturing of the products we sell and their transportation, also play a part in contributing to climate change.
While these emissions are outside of our direct control, there is still plenty we can do to help our partners and suppliers reduce them, and therefore, their impact on the climate. Our first step is to conduct data analytics and research to better understand our Scope 3 emissions profile (those indirect emissions associated with our supply chain activities). We completed an initial analysis in FY2020 so we could pinpoint where we needed to focus our efforts first, and further refined this during FY2021. These findings demonstrate that the activities which cause the highest emissions, are those relating to the raw materials and production of technology products.
Many of our international suppliers have already set their own carbon emission reduction strategies. We will continue working with them, as well as suppliers who aren’t quite there yet, so we can all work towards the same goal of reducing our climate impact. Additionally, we are rethinking how we design products in line with circular economy principles that prioritise renewable and recycled content, that can be recycled or reused at the end of their life. Embracing this approach across products and packaging contributes to reducing our scope 3 emissions.
Scope 3 data is complex, and constantly evolving, therefore we will continue to undertake further data analytics to help inform our priorities and opportunities where we can influence emission reductions throughout our value chain and work closely with our suppliers to implement these changes. As our datasets and future modelling improves, we will look to establish a long-term scope 3 emissions reduction target.
In a retail environment, producing waste is an inevitable part of doing business. From product packaging to disposing of faulty or broken items, reducing the amount of rubbish that gets sent to landfill takes creative thinking, dedication, and a shared commitment from team members and suppliers to see waste in a new way, and turn rubbish into resources.
To do our part in tackling the waste problem, we are committed to designing out waste in the first instance, and embracing the values of ‘reduce, reuse, repair and recycle’, whenever and wherever possible. In other words, finding new, innovative ways to give what was once rubbish a second life.
During the year, good progress was made by reducing our landfill waste by 32 per cent and recycling a record 91 per cent of all our operational waste. This was achieved by our ongoing strategic approach to waste management, that includes having a deep understanding of our waste streams, supported with data analytics to identify the most appropriate solutions. We targeted problematic landfill streams including single use pallets by transitioning to reusable pallets, damaged goods such as furniture by sending items to a repair site, and bulky items like polystyrene by implementing a centralised polystyrene recycling program, diverting 14,600 kgs of polystyrene from landfill during the year. These changes not only reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill, but also the physical size of bins our teams use and the associated waste expenses.
Achieving our goal to become a zero-waste business relies on the everyday decisions each of our 8,000 team members make when they dispose of an item. Therefore we continued to invest in behaviour change programs, including launching our ‘Becoming a zero-waste business guide’ that outlined the Four Steps to Less, with all team members completing an online training module aimed at identifying ways to design out waste. Additionally, our store team's recycling performance was integrated into their balanced scorecards as a key performance indicator to encourage consistently higher recycling results.
These initiatives have helped us embed a culture of zero-waste in which team members are empowered to identify and implement innovation solutions. During the year this resulted in trials such as implementing centralised metal recycling collection hubs, changing our default receipt printing settings to on-demand to reduce unnecessary receipt waste, and setting up arts and craft repurpose bins to encourage customers to use offcuts for craft projects.
We will continue to ensure our high standards of waste management are maintained and encourage our team to identify further opportunities to design out waste. We will complete a review of our current recycling streams and ensure all services and corresponding bins are optimised as we continue to work towards our goal of becoming a zero-waste business.
E-waste, or electronic waste, is one of the world’s fastest growing waste streams and in the past five years e-waste has surged by 21 per cent. We know that our customers are looking for ways to dispose of their e-waste easily and responsibly, in addition to other hard to recycle items.
The good news is there are great, accessible options for repairing and recycling e-waste. Electronics often contain valuable materials such as metals, and by recovering these materials, we are able to keep them out of landfill and use them again and again.
Since launching our Bring it Back program in 2015, we have collected over 5,600 tonnes of products to be recycled or repaired from our customers. We are committed to making recycling free, easy and secure, and this year completed the installation of new and improved recycling stations at all of our stores. The new units enable a wider range of products to be collected, including batteries, pens and markers, digital storage, mobile phones and computers and accessories. As a result, we saw a 39% increase in the volume of products collected from customers to be recycled, with 1,474 tonnes of unwanted products diverted from landfill during the financial year.
With only an estimated 10% of batteries currently recycled in Australia, we were excited to launch our national battery recycling program during the year. Thanks to our customers, this year we collected the equivalent of almost 2.5 million AA batteries.
We also launched a national pens and marker recycling program, in partnership with BIC. In addition to offering collection points in store, team members have begun encouraging local schools and childcare centres to recycle their old writing instruments by providing them with recycling boxes that can be returned to Officeworks when full.
We continued our partnership with the World’s Biggest Garage Sale in Queensland, in which their team repairs and repurposes imperfect furniture sent to them from our Queensland operations. During the year, we completed an assessment of the initial pilot and determined that the program achieved all three key objectives; it supported our stores to increase recycling rates to above 90%, it operated as a cost-neutral exercise, and it provided feedback into product improvements to reduce instances of damage. As a result, this program is now operating as a business-as-usual initiative, with a total of 155 tonnes of furniture having been repaired or repurposed, extending the life of items that would have otherwise been sent to landfill. Our partnership with The World’s Biggest Garage Sale was formally acknowledged at the 32nd Annual Banksia Sustainability Awards, being awarded The Banksia Foundations Minister’s Award for the Environment, presented by the Hon Sussan Ley MP, Federal Minister for the Environment.
With our new recycling programs established, our attention will turn to increasing customer participation by reminding them to bring in their old tech and stationery to Officeworks, keeping it out of landfill and giving it a new life. We will also explore ways we can support the World’s Biggest Garage Sale to expand into other states to keep more imperfect furniture out of landfill and in the economy for longer.
Packaging plays an important role to protect and transport the products we buy. However, packaging that is unable to be recycled contributes to waste that is sent to landfill.
Every day, more and more innovative and sustainable packaging solutions are becoming available which give consumers a better experience by enabling them to easily recycle their packaging, avoiding the need for packaging waste to be sent to landfill.
With almost 40,000 products available for sale at Officeworks, we take a holistic approach to reduce environmental impacts caused by product packaging by working with all our suppliers. Our Sustainable Packaging Policy outlines the expectations for our suppliers to follow, and product packaging reviews are integrated into our category range review process to identify packaging improvements. With over 6,400 own-brand products available, our initial priority is to ensure the packaging on these products is recyclable or reusable. As of June 30 2021, 97 per cent of our own-brand products meet this criteria.
During the year, we also continued to look at ways to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging and transition to plastic-free packaging where possible. By working with our suppliers, we implemented solutions to avoid the annual equivalent of 6.7 million pieces of plastic, across both primary and secondary packaging. Additionally, this year we achieved the milestone of removing polystyrene from all our own-brand products and have begun working with national and international branded suppliers to do the same.
In 2016, we partnered with Planet Ark to develop the Australasian Recycling Label, which we have widely adopted on our own-brand products. The packaging recyclability assessment is integrated into how we source, design and review product packaging, with the label featuring on almost 5,000 of our own-brand products. This process helps us design more sustainable packaging and the label helps our customers recycle right.
We are working to ensure the packaging on our own-brand products will be recyclable by December 2021. We will continue to collaborate with all suppliers to encourage them to design packaging that is recyclable and implement further solutions to reduce our reliance on plastic packaging. We will continue to explore ways that packaging used for our online deliveries can be optimised, reducing unnecessary materials, and exploring ways we can provide deliveries to our stores and customers in reusable options.
Forests are critical ecosystems for our planet, making up approximately 30 per cent of the world’s land area. They provide a range of vital ecosystem services including capturing and storing climate-warming greenhouse gases, purifying water, and providing valuable habitats for wildlife.
But there is a problem, we’re losing forests at an alarming rate, with over 8.4 million soccer fields worth of Amazon Forest being cleared between 2009-2019 alone as a result of agricultural land clearing and illegal logging.
We’ve long been committed to the sustainable sourcing of paper and wood-based products, and take a zero-tolerance approach for illegally logged timber entering our supply chain. Our approach is underpinned by our Sustainable Wood-Fibre Sourcing policy, credible third-party certification and supply chain transparency requirements to inform sourcing decisions.
To support the industry to transition to more sustainable forestry practices, in 2016 we established a long-term target that all paper products sold at Officeworks needed to be either FSC certified or made from 100% recycled content. As of June 30 2021, over 8,200 products representing 99% of office supplies & educational products sold meet this criteria. This includes 132 products supplied by an international brand, which while they are not FSC certified underwent an independent review that satisfied us they meet similar forestry standards. We recognise that this significant achievement has only been possible due to the ongoing commitment and support of our suppliers and partners over the last five years. For the remaining 400 products that do not yet meet this criterion, we have detailed action plans in place which involves either transitioning or replacing these items at a later stage.
With the completion of our initial sustainable wood-fibre sourcing goal, our focus now moves towards our broader commitment to ensure that paper and timber products, products containing palm oil and paper-based product packaging doesn’t contain deforested materials.
We’re not just committed to sourcing more sustainable timber-based products; we want to play an active part in protecting the world’s forests for the future. That’s why we established our Restoring Australia initiative, to restore landscapes across the country by planting two trees for every one used, based on the weight of paper products purchased by our customers.
Our focus for FY22 will be to transition more of our timber furniture to FSC certified materials. We will continue to work towards zero deforestation in our supply chain, and will broaden our scope by working with suppliers to improve transparency of our packaging materials, to ensure they are sourced from legal and responsible sources.
We know that our customers want to take more sustainable actions, and one way is by purchasing more sustainable products that are better for the planet.
Choosing more sustainable products is the easiest way for our customers to make a positive difference when shopping with us. That is why we’re working to source and design more products which are both sustainable and cost-effective, whilst maintaining the quality and functionality our customers expect. Our approach is guided by principles that help determine the most sustainable product options in a given category. One example of this was our new sustainable back to school range that included 55 products designed from recycled and renewable materials, available at comparable prices and at the same quality as existing products.
In November 2020, we launched our Greener Choices range of products online, in which we introduced enhanced website navigation to make it easier for customers to find sustainable products. The program now includes almost 2,000 products across eleven greener choice categories, including;
We are committed to ensuring any environmental claims are appropriately substantiated. This year we continued our partnership with Good Environmental Choice Australia to have them conduct an independent third-party assessment of our environmental claims on selected products.
With customers responding favourably, we are exploring how we can make it easier for customers to find these products and understand the benefits. Our team will continue to source and design more sustainable products, which is now integrated into the category review process, and we will assess our partnership with GECA and consider third-party endorsement on a wider range of greener choice products.
In many products, plastic is a useful material as it is low cost and long lasting. However, some types of plastic present significant problems to the environment as they are unable to be recycled and may never break down, contributing to environmental issues on land and in our waterways.
We’ve defined problematic plastics in the broadest sense to include to include plastic that is difficult to recycle or causes significant environmental issues (such as PVC, expanded polystyrene or micro-plastics), single use plastic, (such as items to be designed or intended to be discarded after a single use, such as plastic cutlery), or plastic that is deemed as unnecessary (which is particularly apparent in secondary packaging materials).
Using this definition, we have developed a strategic approach to address problematic plastics of most concern. Our key achievements during the year include;
From July 2021, we will stop selling single use plastic products such as cutlery and plates and provide our customers with sustainable and affordable alternatives. By doing this, more than 32 million pieces of plastic will be avoided each year, which is around 200,000 kgs plastic. We will conduct further assessments to identify our next opportunities to remove problematic plastics and implement solutions to address these. We will continue to work collaboratively with our suppliers and the industry more broadly to help accelerate progress being made.
Officeworks is committed to doing business in a responsible manner.Find out more
We're passionate about supporting the communities where we live and work.Find out more
We have a long-term focus on reducing our environmental impact through initiatives such as Restoring Australia.Find out more