Kmart Group
Department stores
Kmart and Target were part of the Coles Group when it was bought by Wesfarmers in 2007. Wesfarmers divested Coles (supermarkets and liquor) in 2018, but kept Kmart and Target, which were merged into Kmart Group in 2023. Kmart Group operates 324 Kmart and 128 Target stores across Australia and New Zealand. Wesfarmers also owns Bunnings, Officeworks and Priceline.

Overall

Owned AUS
Rating C
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

Kmart Australia Pty Ltd
AUS
Wesfarmers Ltd
owns 100% of Kmart Australia Pty Ltd
AUS
Retail, energy, insurance, chemicals
Founded in WA in 1914 as a farmers' cooperative, today Wesfarmers operations include department stores; home improvement and office supplies; insurance; chemicals, energy and fertilisers; and industrial and safety products. Acquired Coles Group in 2007 for $20 billion in the biggest takeover in Australian corporate history. Coles was spun-off in November 2018. Wesfarmers kept Officeworks, Kmart and Target, which were part of Coles Group when it was acquired by Wesfarmers.

Company Assessment

Kmart Australia Pty Ltd
Praise
The 2023 Fashion Transparency Index reviewed 250 of the world's largest fashion brands and retailers and ranked them according to how much they disclose about their human rights and environmental policies, practices and impacts. Brands owned by this company scored 76%, signifying that it is publishing detailed supplier lists and the vast majority of policies, procedures and future goals. The average score was 26% and the highest score was 83%.
This company received a packaging performance level of 3 (Advanced) in its 2024 APCO Annual Report. Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. Each year, APCO Members are required to submit an APCO Annual Report and Action Plan, which includes an overall performance level from 1 (Getting Started) to 5 (Beyond Best Practice).
Source: APCO (2024)
Greenpeace's Reenergise campaign ranks Australia's biggest electricity using companies on their commitments and actions regarding renewable energy use. This company has: committed to powering their operations by 100% renewable electricity by 2030; signed at least one power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy power from a wind or solar project; invested in on-site solar.
This company is a signatory to the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry. The International Accord was established in 2021 as the successor to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which was established in 2013 in the wake of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,000 workers and seriously injured thousands more. Company signatories to the International Accord commit to: Disclosing all factories producing for them in countries with International Accord programs; Ensuring all listed factories participate in the inspection, remediation, and safety training programs; Supporting factories to ensure remediation is financially feasible; Contributing to the operational costs of International Accord programs.
Baptist World Aid Australia's '2022 Ethical Fashion Report' assessed 120 companies on their efforts to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. Assessment criteria fall into five main categories: policy & governance, tracing & risk, auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and environmental sustainability. This company received a score of 56/100.
In 2020 Baptist World Aid Australia released The COVID Fashion Report, a special edition of their Ethical Fashion Report. The report is framed around six COVID Fashion Commitments that ask companies to demonstrate the steps and measures they are taking to protect and support the most vulnerable workers in their supply chains. This company showed evidence of actions that cover ALL areas of the COVID Fashion Commitments.
Criticism
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of F.
According to Oxfam's 2019 report, "Made in Poverty - The True Cost of Fashion", this company sources from Bangladesh and Vietnam. Some of the many disturbing findings of the research in Bangladesh were that 100 per cent of workers interviewed were not paid a living wage, nine out of ten could not afford enough food for themselves and their families until their next monthly pay and seven out of 10 could not pay for medical treatment when they were sick or injured. In Vietnam, 99 per cent were not paid a living wage and seven out of 10 women interviewed felt their pay was not enough to meet their needs.
Be Slavery Free's 2024 Chocolate Scorecard rates all the major chocolate companies on their labour and environmental policies and practices. Companies were asked questions in six areas: traceability and transparency; living income; child labor; deforestation and climate; agroforestry; and pesticides. This retailer received a red rating: "Trailing in policy and practice".
In 2023 this company was fined $1.3 million following an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for breaking Australian spam rules. Kmart sent over 200,000 messages to customers between July 2022 and May 2023 who had previously unsubscribed. The investigation found that the breaches occurred due to a combination of technology, system and procedural failures.
Source: ACMA (2023)
Information
Maid in India', a 2012 report by two Dutch NGOs (SOMO and ICN) revealed how workers in the South Indian garment and textile industry continue to suffer exploitative working conditions while making garments for Western brands. While some recent improvements have been made, thousands of girls work under recruitment and employment schemes that amount to bonded labour. This company was shown to be sourcing from one or more of the four garment manufacturers investigated. While they did respond to a review request, it is unclear whether they are taking sufficient actions to address the problems. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
Source: SOMO (2012)
Two work experience students were injured at Kmart stores (one in 2010, one in 2011) when their arms were pulled into a lay-by conveyor. On 24 May 2013 Kmart Australia Ltd was convicted by WorkSafe on both counts and fined an aggregate sum of $80,000 and costs of $7,665.60.
Named and shamed in the 2014 CHOICE Shonky Awards. Some Kmart swimsuit labels proclaim that it may become see-through when wet, and users should avoid excessive contact with suntan lotions, oils, rough surfaces, heated pools and spas treated with harsh chemicals.
This 2013 investigative report by Four Corners reveals that this company ordered clothes from factories in Bangladesh that did not meet international standards. Workers in Dhaka described unacceptable conditions that see them work long hours for little pay, sometimes under the threat of abuse if deadlines are not met. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
Source: ABC (2013)
The average worker in the Bangladeshi garment industry is getting paid only one third of what is considered to be a living wage. Low wages and long working hours have been found to play a key role in parents' decisions to take their children out of school and let them work in various jobs. This company was identified in SOMO's 2017 report 'Branded Childhood' as contributing to this situation. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
In 2011, a group of major apparel and footwear brands and retailers, including this company, made a shared commitment to help lead the industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020. It includes specific commitments and timelines to realize this shared goal.
Source: ZDHC (2023)
This company has formally undertaken not to use or sell real fur.
This company has taken angora items off the shelves and promised not to use angora again, following a PETA campaign launched in Dec 2013 which revealed the cruelty inflicted on angora rabbits in Chinese factory farms, where 90% of the world's angora is produced.
Source: PETA (2018)
Brands owned by this company are listed in Human Society International Australia's Better Wool Guide as using 100% non-mulesed wool from a robust certification scheme, or has a time-bound commitment to do so. Mulesing is the controversial practice of removing strips of the skin of a lamb's rear and is often done without pain relief. In Australia, the only country where mulesing still occurs, an estimated 10 million merino lambs are subjected to mulesing each year - equivalent to 19 lambs per minute.
This company is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in March 2011 by a group of global apparel and footwear companies and non-profit organizations (representing nearly one third of the global market share for apparel and footwear). The Coalition's goals are to reduce the apparel industry's environmental and social impact, and to develop a universal index to measure environmental and social performance of apparel products.
This company is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a voluntary program which encourages the adoption of better management practices in cotton cultivation to achieve measurable reductions in key environmental impacts, while improving social and economic benefits for cotton farmers, small and large, worldwide.
This company is a participant in the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) initiative, an initiative between international brands and retailers, manufacturers, and trade unions to address the issue of living wages in the textile and garment supply chain.
This company is a partner of Better Work, an initiative of the UN's International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation which brings diverse groups together - governments, global brands, factory owners, and unions and workers - to improve working conditions in the garment industry and make the sector more competitive.
This company has sustainability claims on its website in areas that include energy & climate, waste, using recycled polyester, human rights, circular economy and community support.
This company is a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, whose goal is to eliminate plastic pollution at its source.
In 2020 Oxfam evaluated several clothing brand's purchasing practices across seven categories: whether a brand provides accurate forecasts of upcoming work to factories; its price negotiation strategies; whether a factory's environmental and social compliance influences the brand's purchasing decisions; how a brand places orders with factories; what its payment terms are; commitment to pay a living wage; and the transparency of a brand's supply chain. This company was given a score of 2.5 with 4 being the highest possible score.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre digital platform presents news and allegations relating to the human rights impact of over 20,000 companies. Their enhanced Company Dashboards also include financial information, key data points based on corporate policies, and scores from prominent civil society benchmarks. Follow the link and use the search function to view this company's dashboard.
The Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge (Transparency Pledge) helps demonstrate apparel and footwear companies' commitment towards greater transparency in their manufacturing supply chain. Transparency of a company's manufacturing supply chain better enables a company to collaborate with civil society in identifying, assessing, and avoiding actual or potential adverse human rights impacts. This is a critical step that strengthens a company's human rights due diligence. This company has published limited supplier factory information, and falls well short of the Pledge standard.
In June 2022 CHOICE revealed Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys are using facial recognition technology in stores. Despite some limited signage in some stores, customers remain largely unaware of the practice. Privacy experts are raising the alarm and CHOICE says they may be in breach of the Privacy Act. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is investigating. Kmart has paused their use of the technology amid the controversy.
Wesfarmers Ltd
Praise
Oxfam Australia's Company Tracker compares the big clothing brands on their efforts to pay a living wage to the women working in their factories. This company has released the names and addresses of at least 70% of their supplier factories, has taken some action towards paying a living wage within a set timeframe in the supply chain, and has made a commitment to ringfence wages.
The 2023 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 55 companies in the apparel sector on their human rights performance. This company received a score of 49.1%. The overall average score was a disappointing 18.2% and the highest score was 53.4%.
Modern slavery disclosure is a critical step in mitigating the risk associated with modern slavery practices in companies' operations and supply chains. The quality of the disclosure signals the level of commitments and efforts that the companies have put in managing these risks. In 2021 the Monash Centre for Financial Studies analysed and ranked the disclosure quality of the modern slavery statements submitted by the 300 largest listed companies on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX300). This company's modern slavery disclosure statement received a grade of A.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 62/100 in the Retailing category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 23 Sep 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
Criticism
In 2023 seven subsidiaries of Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety Pty Ltd (WIS) back-paid more than $4.8 million to more than 3,400 underpaid employees nationally and signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman. The company was also ordered to make a $100,000 contrition payment.
Information
This company received a score of 35.3/100 in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2017, which ranks the world's largest publicly traded companies on eight indicators covering energy, greenhouse gases, water, waste, fines and penalties, linking executive pay to sustainability targets, board-level committee oversight of environmental issues and third-party audits. Ranking methodology by Corporate Knights and HIP Investor.
According to the democracyforsale.net website, this company donated $638,000 to Australia's major political parties between 2012 and 2018, as disclosed to the Australian Electoral Commision (AEC).
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: put a price on carbon; responsible corporate engagement in climate policy; report climate change information in mainstream reports as a fiduciary duty.
Between 2015 and 2018 this company paid $3 billion tax on a total income of $199 billion, earning the number 8 spot on Michael West's Top 40 Tax Payers 2020. West calculated which of Australia's largest companies have paid the most tax using three years of tax transparency data published by the Australian Tax Office.
This company has sustainability claims on its website in the areas of sourcing, community, environment and indigenous engagement.
This company used to operate coal mines, but sold off its last coal asset in 2018.
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
The 2023 Gender Benchmark ranks 112 companies from the apparel and food and agriculture sectors on their efforts to drive gender equality and women's empowerment across their entire value chain. Companies are assessed on governance and strategy, representation, compensation and benefits, health and well-being, violence and harassment, and marketplace and community. This company ranked #18/112, with a total score of 36.6%. The average score was 23% and the highest score was 55%.

Company Details

Type:
Wholly-owned subsidiary
Revenue:
5.7 billion AUD (2023)
Employees:
50,000 (2023)

Contact Details

Address:
L3, 690 Springvale Rd, Mulgrave, VIC, 3170, Australia
Freecall:
1800 124 125
Website:
www.kmart.com.au

Products / Brands

Kmart Group