Food Rescue leadership recognised at Green Ribbon Awards

Countdown’s Food Rescue programme won the Business Leadership category at last night’s Green Ribbon Awards, run by the Ministry for the Environment.  The awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by individuals, organisations, businesses and communities to protect and enhance New Zealand’s environment.

In last financial year, waste contributed just 9 per cent of Countdown’s carbon emissions.  Since 2006 the company has decreased waste to landfill by 34 per cent despite a 43 per cent increase in supermarket space.

Countdown Food Rescue plays a vital role in both reducing food waste and fulfilling a vital social need – to support people in need in communities throughout New Zealand.  All Countdown stores nationwide have a food rescue partnership in place which sees around $3.5 million of high-quality surplus food donated to food rescue groups and local foodbanks each year.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, James Walker, says showing leadership means more than just facilitating donations.

“Food rescue is about true partnerships, about listening and learning, and importantly, supporting food rescue to grow.  In the last year we have invested more in building relationships, improving our food rescue operations, raising awareness with customers and providing financial support through the newly established annual Countdown Food Rescue Partners Contestable Fund of $100,000,” says Mr Walker.

“I’ve seen the difference a $15,000 van makes that we donated to Love Soup on the Hibiscus Coast, and for both the Countdown team and our charity partners, it’s fantastic to receive this recognition of food rescue,” he says.

Countdown’s Food Rescue programme partners with food rescue organisations and foodbanks throughout New Zealand. From its national partner The Salvation Army, who last year provided more than 56,000 food parcels to 28,000 families, to Love Soup Hibiscus Coast, Tokoroa and Rotorua, KiwiHarvest, Fair Food, the Auckland City Mission, Kaivolution, Good Neighbour, Just Zilch, Foodshare, 0800 Hungry and Kaibosh. Last year, Kaibosh in Wellington collected more than 78,000 kilos of food from Countdown, which made up about half of all the food they distributed around the city.

In the last year Countdown has also welcomed Kiwi Community Collective in Wellington, Waiwaste in Masterton, Nourished for Nil in Hastings, Satisfy Food Rescue in Kaiapoi, Kai Rescue Nelson Environment Centre in Nelson, and are also trialling perishable food rescue with The Salvation Army in Whakatane, Gisborne and Whangarei.

The other finalists in the Business Leadership category were Air NZ and Fairfax (Nelson Mail).