The recent furore surrounding Coles, milk prices and the social responsibilities of the supermarket giants provides a useful opportunity to reflect on the state of CSR in the Australian retail sector.
An online review of some of Australia’s largest retail and consumer goods companies paints a decidedly mixed picture.
Controversies aside, the two retail conglomerates – Wesfarmers and Woolworths – are clearly well on the sustainability journey. Wesfarmers is the only Australian retailer to be listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, while Woolworths is mid-way into an ambitious seven-year sustainability strategy.
Beyond the two big retailers, however, the picture is much less encouraging. The websites of some of Australia’s largest brand retailers, including Myer, David Jones, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Just Group and Pacific Brands suggests only a limited commitment to CSR, minimal reporting, and little evidence of integrating CSR into core business.