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Responsible sourcing

Responsible sourcing is focused on animal welfare and the sourcing of raw materials. Click the links below to jump to a section.

Certified products and ingredients

Products and ingredients that are certified by an independent body to manage ethical labour practices and environmental impacts.

Sustainable palm oil

While palm oil is used in many products around the world, unsustainable farming practices are having a negative impact on the environment and wildlife in some countries where oil palms are grown. Coles is a member of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and has embraced its Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production. As a member of the RSPO, our intention is to use only sustainable palm oil in all Coles Brand products.

All Coles Brand food and drink products use only sustainable palm oil.

We are also moving to sustainable palm oil and palm derivatives in our Coles Brand homecare, health, beauty and baby products. While these changes are being made, we offset the use of palm oil in Coles Brand non-food products by purchasing PalmTrace certificates which support sustainable palm oil farmers and processes.

When developing new Coles Brand products, we will use sustainable palm oil wherever possible and where we cannot, we will use alternative oils and ingredients. This approach encourages palm oil producers to move to sustainable practices, while supporting the livelihoods of those communities dependent on the palm oil industry. Where sustainable palm oil is present in our food and drink products, we will label it accordingly. Our policy requires us to identify palm oil specifically instead of using the common term ‘blended vegetable oils’.

Certified coffee and cocoa products

We believe we have a responsibility to work with the coffee and cocoa industries to ensure that these commodities are sourced responsibly. Coles utilises independent certification programs when sourcing coffee and cocoa to provide confidence that these commodities have been sourced ethically and sustainably, and also help to grow the market for independently certified products such as Fairtrade and UTZ/ Rainforest Alliance.

The following Coles Brand products are already from certified sources:

  • 100% Coles Brand solid block chocolate
  • 100% Coles Brand Easter eggs
  • Coles Brand cocoa powder

Coles is committed to using certified coffee in all Coles Brand coffee products by 2020, and to continually increase our use of certified cocoa when used as an ingredient in our Coles Brand products.

Sustainable timber and paper products

Coles Sustainable Timber and Paper Products Policy sets out our expectations regarding the use and supply of timber and timber pulp-based paper products for Coles Brand products. Customer receipts at all Coles supermarkets, Coles Express and liquor outlets are certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Standard. We have committed to working towards using only timber or paper sourced from sustainable forestry operations independently certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), FSC or recycled fibre by 2020.

Animal welfare

Coles cares about how our food is produced and sourced and we are committed to working towards a sustainable future that supports local farmers and food producers, while also looking after the welfare of animals. Coles’ vision is to ‘become the most trusted retailer in Australia and grow long-term shareholder value’, and we believe that protecting and improving the welfare of animals in our supply chains is central to gaining and maintaining customer trust.

We are proud that Coles was the first major Australian supermarket to deliver:

  • All Coles Brand fresh beef with no added hormones (since 2011)
  • All Coles Brand shell eggs cage-free (since 2013)
  • All Coles Brand fresh pork sow stall-free and produced without artificial growth promotants (since 2014)
  • All Coles Brand fresh chicken RSPCA Approved (since 2014)
  • All Coles Brand fresh turkey RSPCA Approved (since 2014)
  • All Coles Brand fresh free-range pork RSPCA Approved (since 2015)
  • All Coles Brand fresh free-range chicken RSPCA Approved (since 2018)
  • All Coles Brand seafood sustainably sourced (since 2015)

Our Animal Welfare Policy sets out our expectations regarding the treatment of animals and aquaculture species in the meat, fresh produce and grocery product global supply chains for all Coles Brand products. It also specifies that no Coles Own Brand products are to be tested on animals.

This policy is based around the five freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst;
  • Freedom from discomfort;
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease;
  • Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour; and
  • Freedom from fear and distress.

If you would like to know more about animal welfare at Coles, please click here.

RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme

We work with RSPCA Approved farms to offer customers a range of humanely farmed Coles Brand products, including fresh and frozen chicken, free range chicken, free range pork and turkey.

The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme establishes higher welfare standards (beyond legislative requirements) and commercially achievable production standards for hens, pigs, meat chickens, turkeys and salmon. All RSPCA Approved farms are audited on a minimum yearly basis for acceptance into the program.

Animals in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme are housed in an environment that meets their physical and behavioural needs. For example, our RSPCA Approved free range pork is sourced from RSPCA Approved farms where pigs are provided with shelter and bedding, as well as having permanent access to outdoor areas where they can roam and forage.

All RSPCA Approved products at Coles are marked with an RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme logo.


Following extensive work with our pork suppliers, all Coles Brand fresh pork is sow stall-free and free from artificial growth promotants. This was a first for an Australian major supermarket.

It means that all Coles Brand fresh pork, ham and bacon are sourced from farms that only use gestation stalls for a maximum of 24 hours, as opposed to the industry standard of 10 days. This major animal welfare initiative means that approximately 49,000 mother pigs are no longer kept in small, single-pig stalls for long periods during their pregnancy.

Click here for more information on Coles Brand pork.

Sow Stall free logo


Working with the RSPCA, we offer a range of humanely farmed chicken, grown on farms that must meet strict animal welfare standards and provide an enriched environment for chickens to grow. We were the first Australian national supermarket to launch RSPCA Approved Coles Brand chicken in 2014, and today 100% of our fresh chicken is RSPCA Approved.

In September 2018, we launched Coles Brand free range RSPCA Approved Chicken in Victoria and New South Wales. Since the launch, our free range RSPCA Approved Chicken products have more than doubled in volume and the range has been expanded into the states of Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia.

Click here for more information on Coles Brand chicken.

RSPCS approved farming badge


We were the first national Australian supermarket to launch RSPCA Approved Turkey in 2014, with 100% of our fresh turkey range currently being RSPCA Approved.

Turkeys on Coles’ RSPCA Approved farms have lower stocking densities compared with conventional systems, and better lighting systems to encourage activity and allow proper rest. Birds also have quality litter covering the floor to scratch and dust bathe, which cleans and maintains their feathers, and perches and toys to keep them active and entertained.

Click here for more information on Coles Brand turkey.


All Coles Brand shell eggs are cage free. They are either barn laid or free range.

Our Coles Brand free range and barn laid standard aligns with the five freedoms and requires that hens are free to display their natural behaviours by having access to nest boxes, perches and litter for dust bathing.

In addition, the Coles Brand free range standard requires that during the day hens have easy access to an outdoor range, shade from the sun and space to roam.

Since we moved all our Coles Brand shell eggs to cage free in 2013, we have been working with our proprietary egg suppliers to increase production of cage free eggs. We are now expanding this commitment to only sell cage free shell eggs in our supermarkets by 2023. This initiative will also include a commitment to only source cage free eggs as ingredients in our Coles Brand products.

Click here for more information on Coles Brand eggs.

Beef: no added hormones

All the fresh Coles Brand beef in our meat departments has been 100 percent Australian sourced with no added hormones since 2011. By not adding hormones the cattle can grow more naturally.

Click here for more information on Coles Brand beef.

No added hormones logo

Graze beef

Graze beef is sourced from Australian farmers in partnership with Coles. It is grass fed, 100 percent Australian, free to roam and with no added hormones.

Graze beef cattle are free to graze in open pastures across Australia from the New South Wales tablelands, Victoria’s North East and Gippsland areas, South Australia’s Limestone Coast and the Great Southern Region of Western Australia.

Growers adhere to high standards which require the cattle to have access to graze in open pastures, to be cared for by skilled stock men and women and to be free of hormone growth promotants. The Graze beef standards also cover feed and water, as well as other areas including traceability and animal handling.

Click here for more information on Coles Graze beef.



In July 2019, Coles launched its own dedicated milk supply pool in Victoria and New South Wales. This initiative also includes $1.9 million for the Coles Sustainable Dairy Development Group, which will be used to drive animal health and welfare, productivity, quality and environmental impact improvements.

Coles sources all its fresh milk from Australian dairy farms. These dairy farms are predominately pasture-based systems, meaning that dairy cows have access to pasture-based enrichment for a proportion of their lives.

Click here for more information on Coles Brand fresh milk.

Responsibly sourced seafood and aquaculture farming

We understand that well-managed and responsible fishing is essential to maintaining healthy fish populations and habitats, and to ensure the future sustainability of our marine ecosystems.

All Coles Brand seafood has been responsibly sourced since 2015. At Coles, our preference is to source either MSC or certified aquaculture seafood. As obtaining certification can be a rigorous and intensive process, for suppliers yet to obtain certification we have implemented the Coles Responsibly Sourced Seafood Program.

Our responsibly sourced Coles Brand seafood includes seafood available at the deli, canned Coles Brand tuna in the grocery aisle and frozen Coles Brand products such as fish fingers. Our range includes wild-caught and farmed seafood.

Responsibly sourced seafood comes from fisheries and aquaculture farms that have been independently assessed. All Coles Brand seafood products have Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification or meet Coles Responsibly Sourced Seafood Program criteria. Products are labelled according to the methodology under which they have been certified.

"Coles has played a pioneering role in sustainable seafood. It has the only Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) chain of custody certified wetfish counters in Australia, and offers the largest range of certified products of any Australian retailer. Coles’ sourcing policy is world-leading."
Patrick Caleo, MSC Regional Director, Asia-Pacific

In February 2019, Coles was awarded the MSC Oceania Sustainable Seafood Supermarket of the Year Award for the third year running, commended for offering certified products across our fresh, chilled, frozen and tinned seafood.

More information, including responsibly sourced tuna, is available on

resposible sourced seafood logos and awards