Supermarket Countdown has announced it will support the Sustainable Business Network’s Circular Economy Accelerator in its work to complete a diagnostic study of New Zealand’s entire plastic packaging system.
The study aims to identify the key challenges and interventions for the adoption of a circular economy approach to plastics.
Kiri Hannifin, general manager of corporate affairs said the current issues New Zealand is facing around waste can only be solved with a whole systems approach.
“We have a responsibility as a large New Zealand company to help reduce pressure on our waste system and ensure we protect our previous natural environment for generations to come,” said Hannifin.
Hannifin said the supermarket is focused on removing unnecessary packing and plastic across its business and is committed to being part of the solution to New Zealand’s current plastic packaging problem.
“A growing number of our customers are concerned about plastic pollution in New Zealand, and we are too,” said Hannifin.
“Our first preference is to remove unnecessary packaging wherever we can across our entire business. This won’t always be possible, for example with food safety, but we are on the lookout for better options and have a focus on reduction and minimisation – as opposed to just managing the problem when it becomes waste.”
Earlier this year, Countdown pledged to move toward 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in its own brands by 2025.
“We will need the innovative power of business brands and packaging designers,” said James Griffin, Sustainable Business Network general manager of projects and advisory.
“We will need the influence of customers. We will need to improve and increase end of life processing services. And we will [need] regulations that enable the change required.”
Loyalty program hits two million registrations
Meanwhile earlier this week, Countdown’s Onecard loyalty program celebrated its two millionth registration two years after joining with AA Smartfuel to help save Kiwis thousands on fuel and food.
The program recently moved its rewards vouchers online, removing the use of millions of envelopes and paper vouchers that were traditionally sent out to customers.
It was a natural progression for the program to move to a digital space, said Sally Copland, Countdown general manager of digital.
“We know that Onecard rewards are meaningful for our customers as we continue to see more and more people signing up,” said Copland.
“However today’s shopper wants transparency around where they’re at in earning rewards, and once they’ve got there, they want to be rewarded then and there to make a tangible different to their shopping.”