Kmart Australia
Department stores
Previously part of the Coles Group, which was bought by Wesfarmers in 2007. When Wesfarmers divested Coles Supermarkets in 2018, it kept Kmart. Kmart operates 228 stores throughout Australia and New Zealand.

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
Signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, a voluntary agreement to encourage waste minimisation.
This company has signed the 'Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh', a program endorsed by Bangladeshi and international unions and labor rights organizations. The ground-breaking program includes independent safety inspections with public reports, mandatory factory building renovations, the obligation by brands and retailers to underwrite the cost of repairs, and a vital role for workers and their unions – all in a legally-binding, enforceable agreement.
B+ grade in the Baptist World Aid Australia's 'Ethical Fashion Report 2019', which grades companies, from A to F, on the strength of their systems 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: policies, transparency and traceability, auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and environmental management.
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.
The 2020 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 social and environmental policies, practices and impacts. Brands owned by this company scored 32%, signifying it is publishing suppliers lists as well as detailed information about their policies, procedures, social and environmental goals, supplier assessment and remediation processes, and is more likely to be addressing issues such as living wages and collective bargaining. The average score was 23% and the highest score was 73%.
Criticism
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.
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.
In 2021 Mighty Earth and Be Slavery Free released their Easter Chocolate Shopping Guide, a scorecard which ranks retailers on transparency and cocoa sustainability practices in regards to deforestation, farmer poverty and child labour. It does not assess effectiveness or implementation. This company is rated as "Needs more work".
Information
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)
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.
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 (2019)
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)
This company has sustainability claims on its website including ethical sourcing, product safety, reducing packaging, energy efficiency and community support.
This company is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a voluntary initiative 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 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 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.
Source: HiiL (2018)
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 signatory to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, a United Nations initiative which contains the vision to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
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.
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.
Wesfarmers Ltd
Praise
In 2018, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change Score of B.
Source: CDP (2018)
Signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, a voluntary agreement to encourage waste minimisation.
The 2019 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 200 of the largest publicly traded companies in the world from the Agricultural Products, Apparel, Extractives and ICT Manufacturing sectors on 100 human rights indicators. This company's score was in the 40-50 band range. The overall average score was a disappointing 24%.
Source: CHRB (2019)
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, and has taken some action towards paying a living wage within a set timeframe in the supply chain.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 67/100 in the Retailing category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 7 Feb 2021). 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 early 2017, China's Communist Party began a new incarceration campaign, rounding up, detaining and forcibly indoctrinating over 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minority ethnic groups in the far-western region. A coalition of more than 180 human rights groups is calling on apparel brands and retailers to stop using forced labour in the Uyghur Region and end their complicity in the Chinese government's human rights abuses. This company is amongst those being targeted by coalition members for not doing enough to identify and disengage from business relationships with Uyghur Region-linked forced labour.
In 2016 Rank a Brand assessed 37 major cotton-using companies on their commitment and performance with regard to sustainable cotton by looking at each company's cotton sourcing policies, use of sustainable cotton, and traceability. This company scored 0.5/19.5, making it one of the weakest performing companies.
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.
Information
This 2013 report by The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) investigates the labour and human rights risks in supply chain sourcing. This company is identified on page 21 as a company which sources products from countries with known systemic labour and human rights concerns.
Source: ACSI (2013)
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.
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.

Company Details

Type:
Wholly-owned subsidiary
Revenue:
8.7 billion AUD (2019)
Employees:
31,000 (2019)

Contact Details

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

Products / Brands

Kmart Australia