Woolworths Limited has the simple philosophy of demonstrating corporate leadership by doing the right thing. Our community investment aims to create a positive impact for both the community and the business.

In 2012, Woolworths Limited contributed the equivalent of $36.6m in our communities.

  • $8.6 million cash
  • $14.8 million  leverage
  • $3.2 million  in-kind
  • $10.0 million staff and management time

We have a target of the equivalent of 1% of pre-tax profits going towards supporting our communities. Our businesses achieve this by supporting organisations, programs and initiatives in our core focus areas in a manner that is relevant to their business objectives, strengths and skills.


Focus of our investment

Our initiatives are governed by four priority focus areas.

The priority focus areas are:

  • Sustainability and environment;
  • Health and wellbeing;
  • Education and employment; and
  • Rural and regional communities.

Each of our businesses will address these focus areas in ways that relate to their customers and key stakeholders.

To make our community contributions as transparent as possible we are a member of the London Benchmark Group (LBG), which provides a process for measuring, benchmarking and reporting our investments. Around 50 corporates in Australia and New Zealand are members.

We use the LBG reporting model to calculate our total contribution to communities through: 

  • Cash donations from the business
  • Customer and staff fundraising
  • In-kind donations and support
  • Staff time and management costs

For more information, go to

Our Programs 

Fresh Food Rescue

Woolworths has a proud record of food donation in partnership with food relief organisations in Australia and New Zealand. We work with many food relief charities that collect food from our stores and provide meals for people in need in our communities.

Organisations that collect from our stores include Foodbank, OzHarvest, SecondBite, FareShare, Churchlands, House of Hope and The Salvation Army.

Fresh Food Kids Hospital Appeal
Thanks to the generosity of our customers and commitment of our staff, $7,690,320 was raised for the Woolworths Fresh Food Kids Hospital Appeal in 2012. These funds will help children’s hospitals and children’s wards around Australia.

Technologies in the Territory
Through its partnership with Richmond Football Club’s Tigers in the Community program, Dick Smith supported an education pilot Technologies in the Territory. The pilot aimed to increase attainment levels in six schools in Alice Springs. Working with schools and Indigenous kids in the area, the program encourages attendance through live link-ups with some of the Australian Rules football players in Melbourne. The curriculum was developed by our community partner and endorsed by the Northern Territory Department of Education. As well as financial support of the pilot, Dick Smith leveraged its relationship with suppliers to organise interactive white boards for the participating schools.

Fresh Food Future
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) estimates that feeding a global population that is projected to reach 9.1 billion in 2050 would require a 70% increase in food production. The UNFAO projections indicate that 90% of the gains in production needed will be achieved by increasing yield growth and cropping intensity on existing farmlands rather than by increasing the amount of land brought under agricultural production(1). The challenge of boosting crop yields is made more pressing by climate change. In Australia, there is the additional concern of the ageing of the farm population which has been evident in official statistics in Australia since 1981(2).

Our Fresh Food Future program aims to contribute to developing solutions for these challenges and it reaffirms our commitment to investing in the future of rural Australia and food security. Fresh Food Future draws together a number of initiatives to address two main objectives:

  • The advancement of agricultural sustainability; and
  • Building leadership capacity in the sector.

Fresh Food Future has four program areas which help direct our initiatives and investment. These are: 

  • Foundations for the Future – includes research to support sound policy development.
  • Powering Productivity – focuses on adoption of sustainable agriculture practices and increasing production capacity.
  • Leaders for the Future – focuses on supporting training, capacity building and leadership in the rural sector.
  • Consumer Connections – provides our customers the information they need to make more sustainable choices.

Emergency Relief for Natural Disasters
Australian emergency relief The Salvation Army is our official partner in the case of domestic natural disasters. During a severe domestic disaster, such as bushfires and floods, our stores also mobilise in-kind support and resources for their communities. Woolworths Limited businesses will only channel donations through the Company’s appeals.

New Zealand emergency relief
In the face of a series of natural disasters and the tragic events of the Pike River Mine disaster, the team at Progressive Enterprises reacted quickly to the needs of the community. Over NZ$235,000 was raised through donations from supermarket customers and team members to the Pike River Miners’ Trust Fund. The funds raised supported the families of the miners lost at the Pike River coal mine.

In Christchurch’s time of need following the series of devastating earthquakes, Countdown helped raise funds for The Salvation Army to support those communities affected. Customers and team members gave generously and over NZ$735,000 was raised. Progressive Enterprises also contributed NZ$100,000 towards the Salvation Army Canterbury Earthquake Appeal.

Overseas emergency relief and general aid
Oxfam Australia is our official partner in the case of overseas natural disasters. Oxfam Australia has the experience and knowledge required to run community programs in developing countries, including an understanding of the political situations and the ability to ensure funds are monitored and go to the intended recipients. During 2012, $38,000 was donated to Oxfam in its relief efforts on food crisis in East Africa and $500,000 for the Salvation Army to continue supporting their work rebuilding lives after last year's floods.

Requests for support
We receive many requests from worthy causes. However, unfortunately, we are unable to support them all. In order to appropriately channel our support our community investment does not provide funding for the following:

  • Unregistered charities or organisations
  • Australian Business Number (ABN) is a mandatory for all organisations.
  • Charities require Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status and must be authorised licensed/permitted to conduct charitable fundraising activities in the States/Territories in which they operate.
  • Charity advertising or promotions, unless part of a Woolworths specific campaign.
  • Political campaigns and activities.
  • Organisations with religious affiliation are not excluded, so long as participation is open to the community generally.
  • Year end deficits.
  • Sponsorship of individuals, including Woolworths Limited staff (see employee specific schemes).
  • Overseas projects not linked to a Woolworths program.
  • The replacement of funds provided by government, which does not bring additional benefits to people or communities.
  • Business-related conferences, awards and exhibition sponsorships.

If you feel your request meets our criteria please contact us here.