Countdown joins nine New Zealand businesses in a commitment to advance a circular economy

7 August 2018:  Countdown is proud to support the Sustainable Business Network’s Circular Economy Accelerator (CEA) in its work to complete a diagnostic study of New Zealand’s entire plastic packaging system.  The study aims to identify key challenges and interventions for the adoption of a circular economy approach to plastics.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Kiri Hannifin, says Countdown is focused on removing and reducing unnecessary packaging and plastic across its business and is committed to being part of the solution to New Zealand’s current plastic packaging problem.  

“A growing number of our customers are concerned about plastic pollution in New Zealand, and we are too.  Our first preference is to remove unnecessary packaging wherever we can across our entire business.  This won’t always be possible, for example with food safety, but we are on the lookout for better options and have a focus on reduction and minimisation - as opposed to just managing the problem when it becomes waste,” says Kiri Hannifin.

“We are delighted to support the Sustainable Business Network’s diagnostics study because we agree that the current issues New Zealand faces around waste can only be solved with a whole of systems approach.  

“We need to be much more purposeful with how we use resources, including packaging, across the entire supply chain.  Ideally, we should be moving away from single use packaging where we can and striving towards packaging that can be used again and again.  We have a responsibility as a large New Zealand company to help reduce pressure on our waste system and ensure we protect our previous natural environment for generations to come,” says Kiri Hannifin.

Countdown’s commitment to removing and reducing unnecessary plastic is most recently articulated in its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility commitments announced last year. These 20 commitments align with the United Nations’ 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and fall under the pillars of ‘People, Planet and Prosperity’.   One of the goals specifically refers to improve the recyclability of Countdown’s own brand packaging and contributing to the circular economy.

Earlier this year, Countdown also pledged to move towards using 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in our own brands by 2025 or earlier.


James Griffin leads the CEA and says adopting a circular economy will take a whole system approach.


“We will need the innovative power of business brands and packaging designers. We will need the influence of customers. We will need to improve and increase end of life processing services. And we will regulations that enable the change required,” he says.


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