Coles is one of Australia’s largest retailers, providing fresh food, groceries, general merchandise, financial services, liquor and fuel through a national store network and online. Coles operates more than 2,300 retail outlets located from as far south as Blackmans Bay in Tasmania to Casuarina in the Top End of Australia.

In 2011, Coles became Australia’s first retailer to partner with WWF. The partnership aimed to improve the sustainability of Coles’ seafood supply chains to help Coles source more sustainable seafood, including Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified products; and to help educate the public about sustainable seafood choices.

The WWF & Coles Sustainable Seafood Partnership was completed in December 2014. Building on the success of this partnership, WWF and Coles have commenced a new program to improve Coles’ broader environmental performance in new ways.

As a result of the WWF & Coles Sustainable Seafood Partnership, and Coles’ wider Responsibly Sourced seafood program, Coles has made significant improvement to its seafood offer, including increasing the number of MSC- and ASC-certified seafood products across its range. Coles is the first national supermarket in Australia to introduce labelled MSC- and ASC-certified seafood in its deli to join the offer in its canned and frozen range.

Coles remains a signatory to the WWF Global Sustainable Seafood Charter, committing to continuing work with WWF to help safeguard valuable marine eco-systems, ensure the long-term viability of seafood supplies, and to preferentially source and promote MSC- and ASC-certified products. 

What Next?

Environmental and social impacts associated with the production of many commodities like beef, palm oil and sugar pose significant threats to many companies future supply, brand reputation and bottom line – and of course also threaten wildlife and human communities. Under the new Coles and WWF program, WWF will work with Coles to evaluate their wider supply chain. This will be done using WWF’s Supply Risk Analysis methodology to identify major environmental and social impacts and risks.

In addition, Coles will continue to invest in WWF conservation projects related to the Coles supply chain. 


Conservation program

During the WWF & Coles Sustainable Seafood Partnership, which ended in 2014, Coles generously supported several WWF marine conservation projects across Australia and internationally, some of which are set out below. Coles:
  • Provided circle hooks for tuna longline fisheries in the NE Coral Sea and NW Solomon Sea to reduce incidental capture of turtles and vulnerable sharks;
  • Supported the Northern Territory Government’s Indigenous Fisheries Mentor project, training Indigenous communities in sustainable fishing practices to explore healthy food options and small business opportunities; and
  • Continues to work with WWF, in collaboration with the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA) on a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) to bring more responsible seafood to Australians. Find out more about this project here.

Fisheries Improvement Project

Coles continues to work with WWF, in collaboration with the South East Trawl Fishery Industry Association (SETFIA) on a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) to bring more responsible seafood to Australians.

Find out more about this project here.

Partnership highlights

Sunrise at the marina of Lakes Entrance.
As part of the partnership with WWF-Australia, Coles has ... 
	© WWF-Aus / Stepping Stone Films
Coles & WWF Sustainable Seafood Program:

Together, Coles and WWF have made great improvements to the state of seafood in Australia. Thanks to the partnership and to Coles’ wider responsibly sourced seafood program:

•    WWF assessed hundreds of Coles Brand seafood products using WWF’s Ecological Sustainability Evaluation of Seafood (ESES) so Coles could better understand its supply chain and identify areas for improvement;

•    Coles worked with WWF to improve traceability across its entire range of Coles Brand seafood products;

•    Coles has made significant improvement to its seafood offer, wherever possible ranging MSC- or ASC-certified products; leading to increased stocks of MSC- and ASC-certified seafood products;

•    Coles has developed its own Responsibly Sourced Seafood Program to assess the ecological credentials of Coles’ own brand seafood products. WWF is not implementing this new Coles program; however, we understand that Coles Brand products are being independently assessed and reviewed annually. In the case of wild-caught seafood, this is by specialist fisheries consultants and there is a requirement for continuous improvement. This framework looks at important ecological factors including fish stocks, impacts on ecosystems and fishery management;

•    Coles has mainstreamed its responsible seafood program delivery in-house, employing internal staff to manage the day-to-day operations of their new Responsibly Sourced Seafood Program, and also external consultants to review their Responsibly Sourced seafood program;

•    Coles is investing in a four-year WWF Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in collaboration with the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA); and

•    Coles has, and will continue to, engage with stakeholders to improve the environmental performance of fisheries and farms from which Coles Brand seafood is sourced.