This article first appeared in Convenience & Impulse Retailing, authored by Tom Oakley-Newell
Coles announced it has awarded grants of up to $500,000 to eight small and medium sized businesses to implement plans to drive sustainability and innovation.
The businesses set to receive the grants from the Coles Nurture Fund are Walaja Raw Bush Honey, Esperance Bay Orchards, Bartle Frere Bananas, Edson Piggery, McCormack Farms, SecondBite, Bespoke Foods, and Atlas Soils.
Andy Mossop, executive general manager – fresh at Coles Group, said the recipients were chosen for their uniqueness and ability to achieve high impact sustainability goals to reduce emissions, enhance animal welfare, and reduce waste.
“I am excited to see how this round of funding will help bring to life bright ideas generated by these eight businesses. From carbon neutral bananas, to freezing technology that promises to reduce food waste, this year’s recipients are proof Aussie farmers are leading the charge when it comes to innovation and sustainability,” he said.
Gavin Devaney, owner of Queensland’s Bartle Frere Bananas, received a grant of $445,000 which will be used to invest in new technologies including the ability to calculate real-time greenhouse gas emissions on the family owned and operated farm.
“This investment from Coles will help us invest in new technology that we will use to develop a carbon neutral banana range and deliver significant advances in reducing nutrient runoff into the Great Barrier Reef,” Devaney said,
Walaja Raw Bush Honey, an Indigenous-owned family business, will use its grant of $330,000 to create a new, medicinal grade, premium Melaleuca honey that is sustainably made on Yawuru Country in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia.
“This grant will make a huge difference to our company and hopefully the health and wellbeing for the many Australians who can purchase this unique Kimberley honey. We’re confident this investment will help enhance Indigenous knowledge and create local employment opportunities,” its founder David Appleby said.
Tony Mahar, CEO of the National Farmers Federation, said the producers in this latest round of grants from the Coles Nurture Fund showcase the innovation which is helping to promote a sustainable future for Australia’s farm sector.
“With more than $33 million having now been awarded to producers across the country since 2015, the Nurture Fund continues to play an important role in supporting the best of Australian farming and investing in cutting-edge processes and technologies,” Mahar mentioned.