Supermarkets and other retail
Australia's largest supermarket operator, and NZ's second largest. Australia's largest owner of poker machines. Woolworths owns: Woolworths, Big W, liquor retailers (BWS, Dan Murphy's, Cellarmasters, Langtons, plus 316 hotels) and 75% of Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group. Sold Dick Smith Electronics in 2012, closed its failed Masters hardware chain in Dec 2016 and sold its petrol retail business to Euro Garages in 2019.


Owned AUS
Rating F
About the Ratings
Woolworths Ltd

Company Assessment

Woolworths Ltd
In 2020, 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 A.
Source: CDP (2020)
The 2020 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report ranks global food companies on how they are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare policies and practices. This company appeared in tier 2, "Integral to business strategy", with tier 1 being the best, and tier 6 the worst.
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.
In 2020/21 KnowTheChain benchmarked over 180 large global companies in the ICT, Food & Beverage, and Apparel & Footwear sectors on their efforts to address forced labour and human trafficking in their supply chains. This company received a score of 52/100.
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 "Leading the industry on policy".
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.
For eggs to be labelled free range, the Model Code of Practice says there should be a maximum of 1500 hens per hectare. In 2020 Choice updated its list of which egg brands meet the Model Code. According to the report, this company uses a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare for its free range eggs, well in excess of the Model Code. Their Macro branded organic free range eggs use a stocking density of 1,000 hens per hectare.
This company received a score of 17.1/100 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.
Woolworths is the biggest operator of poker machines in Australia, the most damaging type of gambling to Australians. It's been estimated that Woolworths' annual net pokie revenue is at least $1.2 billion. Woolworths generates 11.7% of its annual profit from its pokie business. They have more than 12,000 pokies across 330 venues all around Australia: far more than Star City or Crown Casino.
The Forest 500 identifies, ranks, and tracks the governments, companies and financial institutions worldwide that together could virtually eradicate tropical deforestation. Rankings are based on their public policies and commitments and potential impacts on tropical forests in the context of forest risk commodities (palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber and paper). This company received a score of 29%.
In 2019 Break Free From Plastic engaged 72,541 volunteers in 51 countries to conduct 484 brand audits. These volunteers collected 476,423 pieces of plastic waste, 43% of which was marked with a clear consumer brand. While not in the global top 10, this company ranked as Australia's worst plastic polluter.
In 2020 this company paid a $1 million penalty, handed down by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in response to more than five million breaches of spam law. The ACMA discovered that Woolworths sent marketing emails to consumers, between October 2018 and July 2019, even though they had previously unsubscribed from these messages. The infringement notice for $1,003,800 is the largest ever issued by the ACMA.
On 5 Feb 2016, the Federal Court of Australia ordered Woolworths to pay penalties of over $3 million for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law relating to safety issues with house brand products sold in Woolworths supermarkets, Big W and Masters stores.
Source: ACCC (2016)
In June 2016 the Federal Court ordered Woolworths to pay total penalties of $9 million in laundry detergent cartel proceedings brought by the ACCC. Woolworths was knowingly concerned in an anti-competitive understanding which they admitted was reached between laundry detergent manufacturers.
Source: ACCC (2016)
In Jan 2016 Woolworths was ordered to pay over $11 million in damages to private property developer North East Solution, after it ditched a deal for the construction of a Masters hardware store. The Supreme Court of Victoria ruled that Woolworths failed to act in good faith with North East Solution after the retail giant unfairly terminated the agreement it had with the Victorian developer to build a Masters store in the regional Victorian city of Bendigo, and lease the site for 12 years.
Safeway & Woolworths have been awarded Environment Victoria's 'People's Choice Award' in their 2007 DUMP report. Criticised for needlessly packing fruit and vegetables, particularly organic products, on polystyrene trays and covering them with cling wrap.
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)
Woolworths received widespread criticism in 2007/8 for its green-washing campaign surrounding the Select toilet paper and tissues, which they were sourcing from Asia Pulp Paper.
In August 2007 the giant supermarket chain Woolworths was revealed to be marketing some of its own tissue and paper products sporting a 'Sustainable Forest Fibre' logo and stating that they were made from 'a certified environmentally managed company that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible'. While the products indicated that they were sourced from Indonesia, the only hint as to which company was the supplier were the letters APP on one tissue pack (APP is the acronym for Asia Pulp and Paper). [Listed under information due to age of report]
In 2011 the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Complaints Resolution Panel upheld a complaint about an ad by this company on the grounds that it breached advertising codes. The ad was subsequently withdrawn.
Involved in sale of tobacco-related products as a non-core business.
Yellow rating in Greenpeace Canned Tuna Guide. "Woolworths' private labels took 8th place this year. Woolworths have made good commitments in the past, but it needs to back these up with a commitment to transparency. Woolworths should provide more evidence to verify the traceability of their tuna and other sustainability and ethical sourcing commitments. Not all of its private label tuna cans are labelled with the specific catch method. Woolworths is also the only major retailer continuing to stock Greenseas, the last brand still using destructive FADs. We look forward to seeing Woolworths do better next year."
Independent testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth found potentially harmful nanoparticles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and silica (SiO2) in a range of food products including products by this company. The silica and titanium dioxide in all 14 food products tested contained a high proportion of nanoparticles that have not been tested, labelled or approved for consumption in Australia. Furthermore, peer reviewed studies have raised health serious health concerns regarding the use of these nanoparticles in food.
Source: FOE (2015)
In Dec 2006 the Federal Court of Australia ordered Woolworths to pay $7 million plus legal fees, for entering into and giving effect to illegal anticompetitive agreements with small business liquor licence applicants. In his judgment Justice Allsop described Woolworths' purpose in entering into the agreements as aimed at preventing the entry of new competitors into local retail packaged takeaway liquor markets so as to protect Woolworths' liquor businesses.[noted as Information due to age of court order]
Source: ACCC (2006)
On 14 April 2014, the Federal Court of Australia found supermarket giant Woolworths breached an undertaking on fuel shopper dockets, but that its rival Coles did not break the agreement. Woolworths had breached the agreement for the first three months of 2014, when it offered discounts of up to eight cents a litre.
Source: ACCC (2014)
In June 2016 the Fair Work Ombudsman issued a report criticising Woolworths with a finding that some trolley collectors working at its supermarkets were being paid as little as $10 an hour. 79% of sites visited had indications of some form of non-compliance with workplace laws, with 49% of sites presenting serious issues.
In 2021 Woolworths paid $44.5 million to settle a class action with shareholders, who may have bought shares at an inflated price because of improper company reporting.
According to the democracyforsale.net website, this company donated $178,505 to Australia's major political parties between 2012 and 2018, as disclosed to the Australian Electoral Commision (AEC).
This company manufactures or distributes products that are certified organic under the Australian Certified Organic label.
Source: ACO (2018)
This company sells Rainforest Alliance certified products. However this only represents a fraction of this company's total private label products sales. Rainforest Alliance certification has been dubbed 'Fairtrade light' by critics, as it offers producers no minimum price for their crop, and guarantees a minimum of just 30% of the product is certified.
This company is an FSC Australia Retail Supporter. A Retail Supporter is an organisation that sells FSC Certified products (among others) to consumers. These are companies who not only wish to sell certified products, but promote and support FSC at the same time.
Some, but not necessarily all, of this company's products are palm oil free, or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). For more details, follow the link to see Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia's list of products which manufacturers have told them are palm oil free or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil.
This company has agreed to phase out the use of microbeads in their own-brand products by 2017. These particles are not retained by wastewater treatment so end up in the ocean. While microbeads aren't thought to be a health hazard to consumers, they are a threat to the marine environment.
This company sells Fairtrade Certified coffee. However this only represents a fraction of their total coffee sales.
All Woolworths brand chicken products use humanely farmed RSPCA Approved chicken. These farms raise their birds in an enriched barn environment. Chickens enjoy space to move, good lighting and can perch, dustbathe and forage.
This company is listed on the RSPCA Australia website as 'cage-free and proud', signifying a commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. Essentially cage-free means barn laid, which is better than cage eggs, but still much worse than free-range or organic eggs when it comes to animal welfare.
Between 2015 and 2018 this company paid $2.3 billion tax on a total income of $149 billion, earning the number 9 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.
In March 2014 Woolworths published the names and addresses of 52 factories in Bangladesh, which Woolworths Limited's retail brands (including BIG W) source from.
This company has sustainability claims on its website, including sustainability reports. Environmental claims cover animal welfare, sustainable seafood, GMOs, responding to climate change, sustainable forestry products and sustainable tea, coffee and chocolate.
From 2018 Woolworths is partnering with WWF Australia to further improve sustainable fisheries and seafood sourcing. WWF Australia is providing technical and strategic advice to guide Woolworths' seafood sustainability efforts. This includes assessing the ecological sustainability of Woolworth's seafood supply chain across Woolworths Own Brand seafood products, as well as all seafood products sold at the seafood counter in Woolworths stores. Woolworths is committed to improving tracking and labelling processes to ensure that all seafood products sold in their stores are traceable from source to sale.
This company has signed up to the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, which governs certain conduct by grocery retailers and wholesalers in their dealings with suppliers. It has rules relating to grocery supply agreements, payments, termination of agreements, dispute resolution and a range of other matters.
Source: ACCC (2015)
This company is a member of Bonsucro - Better Sugar Cane Initiative, a global non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation fostering the sustainability of the sugarcane sector through its leading metric-based certification scheme and its support for continuous improvement for members.
The United Nations Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. However it's non-binding nature has been widely criticised, and many signatory corporations continue to violate the Compact's values.
The Material Change Index (MCI) is a voluntary benchmark that tracks the apparel and textiles sector's progress toward more sustainable materials sourcing (cotton, polyester, nylon, manmade cellulosics, wool, down and leather), as well as alignment with global efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals and the transition to a circular economy. This company was rated "Maturing", the second highest performance band.
The WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2019 assesses 173 companies on the commitments they have made, and the actions they have taken, to ensure that there is no destruction of nature including no deforestation along their supply chains; and support a responsible and sustainable palm oil industry beyond their own supply chain. This company is rated 'middle of the pack' with a score of 11.4 out of a possible total of 22.
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 30-40 band range. The overall average score was a disappointing 24%.
Source: CHRB (2019)
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 42/100 in the Food & Staples 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.
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.

Company Details

Public company
57 billion AUD (2018)
202,000 (2018)
Endeavour Group Ltd (85% owned)
Liquor retail
Established in Feb 2020 when Endeavor Drinks merged with ALH Group, creating Australia's largest integrated drinks and hospitality business. Woolworths holds 85.4 per cent of the combined Endeavour Group and 14.6 per cent is owned by Bruce Mathieson Group, Woolworths' joint venture partner in ALH. Woolworths plans to separate from Endeavor Group in June 2021.
Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group Pty Ltd
Pubs, hotels, alcohol retail and gaming
Joint Venture between Woolworths and Victorian pub baron Bruce Mathieson. ALH Group owns and operates over 300 licensed venues, and over 450 retail liquor outlets across Australia. Brands include BWS and Dan Murphy's. They are Australia's largest owner of poker machines, with more than 12,000 machines.
Pinnacle Drinks
This Woolworths subsidiary was set up in August 2012 to take its private label liquor strategy to a more sophisticated level. Owns the Dorrien Estate winemaking facility in the Barossa. Acquired the Barossa Valley wine brand in 2013.
Big W
Department stores
The first BIG W branded standalone store opened its doors in 1976 in Tamworth. Today there are 179 stores around Australia.
Woolworths New Zealand Ltd
Progressive Enterprises was bought by Woolworths in 2005 and changed its name to Woolworths New Zealand in 2020. Owns and operates over 180 Countdown supermarkets in New Zealand, and is also the franchisor of the Super Value and FreshChoice supermarkets.
Beak & Johnston Pty Ltd (23% owned)
Meats, ribs, soups and sauces supplier
Established in 1986. Provides private-label meat and convenience foods for Woolworths, as well as supplying restaurants and selling their own branded goods. Acquired NZ based organic soup maker Pitango in 2013. Woolworths owns a 23% stake.
Pitango Pty Ltd
Fresh meal manufacturer
Pitango make packaged organic fresh meals in New Zealand. Their products are for sale in Australia, NZ, Hong Kong and Canada. Acquired by Gourmet Food Holdings in 2008, who sold it to Beak & Johnson in March 2013.

Contact Details

1 Woolworths Way, Bella Vista, NSW, 2153, Australia
02 8885 0000

Products / Brands

Apollo Dog Food
Azure Tissues
Baxters Pet Food (chilled)
Baxters Dog Food
Bell Farms Frozen Vegies/Chips
Bell Farms Baked Beans/Spaghetti
Chevron Batteries
Clean Stain Removal & Prewash
Essentials House Brands
Farmers' Own Milk
Hillview Cheese
Homebrand House Brands
Little One's Nappies
Little One's Baby Wipes
Macro House Brands
★ some products certified organic
Macro Health Foods
Select House Brands
Shine Dishwashing Detergent
Smitten Cat Food
Strike Window & Glass Cleaners
Strike Floor Cleaners
Strike Multi-Purpose Cleaners
Strike Toilet Cleaners
Voeu House Brands
Woolworths Supermarkets
Woolworths House Brands
Your Majesty Cat Food
Endeavour Group (85% owned)
BWS Liquor Stores
Dan Murphys Liquor Stores
Pinnacle Drinks (85% owned)
John Boston Beer
Mishka Premix Spirits
Nelson County Premix Spirits
Saxton Cider
Steersman Beer
Pinnacle Drinks (85% owned) / Gage Roads (manufacturer)
Castaway Cider
Sail & Anchor Beer
Tun Beer
Big W Beak & Johnston (23% owned)
Beak & Sons Cooking Sauce
Pitango (23% owned)
Artisano Ready Meals
Pitango Ready Meals
★ Certified organic