The first BIG W branded standalone store opened its doors in 1976 in Tamworth. Today there are 179 stores around Australia.
| Woolworths Ltd
owns 100% of Big W
B- grade in the Baptist World Aid Australia's 'Ethical Fashion Report 2019', which grades companies, from A to F, on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. Assessment criteria fall into five main categories: policies, transparency and traceability, auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and environmental management.
Source: Baptist World Aid Australia (2019)
In 2020 Baptist World Aid Australia released The COVID Fashion Report, a special edition of their Ethical Fashion Report. The report is framed around six COVID Fashion Commitments that ask companies to demonstrate the steps and measures they are taking to protect and support the most vulnerable workers in their supply chains. This company showed evidence of actions that cover ALL areas of the COVID Fashion Commitments.
Source: Baptist World Aid Australia (2020)
The 2020 Fashion Transparency Index reviewed 250 of the world's largest fashion brands and retailers and ranked them according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts. Brands owned by this company scored 30%, signifying it is publishing suppliers lists as well as detailed information about their policies, procedures, social and environmental goals, supplier assessment and remediation processes, and is more likely to be addressing issues such as living wages and collective bargaining. The average score was 23% and the highest score was 73%.
Source: Fashion Revolution (2020)
According to Oxfam's 2019 report, "Made in Poverty - The True Cost of Fashion", this company sources from Bangladesh and Vietnam. Some of the many disturbing findings of the research in Bangladesh were that 100 per cent of workers interviewed were not paid a living wage, nine out of ten could not afford enough food for themselves and their families until their next monthly pay and seven out of 10 could not pay for medical treatment when they were sick or injured. In Vietnam, 99 per cent were not paid a living wage and seven out of 10 women interviewed felt their pay was not enough to meet their needs.
Source: Oxfam Australia (2019)
This company has formally undertaken not to use or sell real fur.
Source: Animals Australia (2017)
This company has taken angora items off the shelves and promised not to use angora again, following a PETA campaign launched in Dec 2013 which revealed the cruelty inflicted on angora rabbits in Chinese factory farms, where 90% of the world's angora is produced.
Source: PETA (2018)
In 2002, BIG W launched a national campaign called the Big Heart Campaign, which has raised millions of dollars for local children's hospitals, wards and foundations. BIG W also sells various fundraising merchandise at their checkouts to support National Health Programs such as Jeans for Genes Day and National Breast Cancer day.
Source: company website (2013)
In 2020 Oxfam evaluated several clothing brand's purchasing practices across seven categories: whether a brand provides accurate forecasts of upcoming work to factories; its price negotiation strategies; whether a factory's environmental and social compliance influences the brand's purchasing decisions; how a brand places orders with factories; what its payment terms are; commitment to pay a living wage; and the transparency of a brand's supply chain. This company was given a score of 2.5 with 4 being the highest possible score.
Source: Oxfam Australia (2020)
Oxfam Australia's Company Tracker compares the big clothing brands on their efforts to pay a living wage to the women working in their factories. This company has released the names and addresses of at least 70% of their supplier factories, and has taken some action towards paying a living wage within a set timeframe in the supply chain, but does not have a satisfactory grievance mechanism in place for workers to report violations of their rights.
Source: Oxfam Australia (2019)
In 2020, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change Score of A.
Source: CDP (2020)
The 2020 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report ranks global food companies on how they are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare policies and practices. This company appeared in tier 2, "Integral to business strategy", with tier 1 being the best, and tier 6 the worst.
Source: BBFAW (2020)
Signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, a voluntary agreement to encourage waste minimisation.
Source: Australian Packaging Covenant (2020)
This company has signed the 'Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh', a program endorsed by Bangladeshi and international unions and labor rights organizations. The ground-breaking program includes independent safety inspections with public reports, mandatory factory building renovations, the obligation by brands and retailers to underwrite the cost of repairs, and a vital role for workers and their unions all in a legally-binding, enforceable agreement.
Source: Bangladesh Accord (2019)
In 2020/21 KnowTheChain benchmarked over 180 large global companies in the ICT, Food & Beverage, and Apparel & Footwear sectors on their efforts to address forced labour and human trafficking in their supply chains. This company received a score of 52/100.
Source: KnowTheChain (2021)
In 2021 Mighty Earth and Be Slavery Free released their Easter Chocolate Shopping Guide, a scorecard which ranks retailers on transparency and cocoa sustainability practices in regards to deforestation, farmer poverty and child labour. It does not assess effectiveness or implementation. This company is rated as "Leading the industry on policy".
Source: Be Slavery Free (2021)
For eggs to be labelled free range, the Model Code of Practice says there should be a maximum of 1500 hens per hectare. In 2020 Choice updated its list of which egg brands meet the Model Code. According to the report, this company uses a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare for its free range eggs, well in excess of the Model Code. Their Macro branded organic free range eggs use a stocking density of 1,000 hens per hectare.
Source: Choice (2020)
This company received a score of 17.1/100 in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2017, which ranks the world's largest publicly traded companies on eight indicators covering energy, greenhouse gases, water, waste, fines and penalties, linking executive pay to sustainability targets, board-level committee oversight of environmental issues and third-party audits. Ranking methodology by Corporate Knights and HIP Investor.
Source: Newsweek (2017)
Woolworths is the biggest operator of poker machines in Australia, the most damaging type of gambling to Australians. It's been estimated that Woolworths' annual net pokie revenue is at least $1.2 billion. Woolworths generates 11.7% of its annual profit from its pokie business. They have more than 12,000 pokies across 330 venues all around Australia: far more than Star City or Crown Casino.
Source: Alliance for Gambling Reform (2018)
The Forest 500 identifies, ranks, and tracks the governments, companies and financial institutions worldwide that together could virtually eradicate tropical deforestation. Rankings are based on their public policies and commitments and potential impacts on tropical forests in the context of forest risk commodities (palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber and paper). This company received a score of 29%.
Source: Forest 500 (2020)
In 2019 Break Free From Plastic engaged 72,541 volunteers in 51 countries to conduct 484 brand audits. These volunteers collected 476,423 pieces of plastic waste, 43% of which was marked with a clear consumer brand. While not in the global top 10, this company ranked as Australia's worst plastic polluter.
Source: #breakfreefromplastic (2019)
In 2020 this company paid a $1 million penalty, handed down by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in response to more than five million breaches of spam law. The ACMA discovered that Woolworths sent marketing emails to consumers, between October 2018 and July 2019, even though they had previously unsubscribed from these messages. The infringement notice for $1,003,800 is the largest ever issued by the ACMA.
Source: news article (2020)
On 5 Feb 2016, the Federal Court of Australia ordered Woolworths to pay penalties of over $3 million for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law relating to safety issues with house brand products sold in Woolworths supermarkets, Big W and Masters stores.
Source: ACCC (2016)
In June 2016 the Federal Court ordered Woolworths to pay total penalties of $9 million in laundry detergent cartel proceedings brought by the ACCC. Woolworths was knowingly concerned in an anti-competitive understanding which they admitted was reached between laundry detergent manufacturers.
Source: ACCC (2016)
In Jan 2016 Woolworths was ordered to pay over $11 million in damages to private property developer North East Solution, after it ditched a deal for the construction of a Masters hardware store. The Supreme Court of Victoria ruled that Woolworths failed to act in good faith with North East Solution after the retail giant unfairly terminated the agreement it had with the Victorian developer to build a Masters store in the regional Victorian city of Bendigo, and lease the site for 12 years.
Source: Inside Retail (2016)
Safeway & Woolworths have been awarded Environment Victoria's 'People's Choice Award' in their 2007 DUMP report. Criticised for needlessly packing fruit and vegetables, particularly organic products, on polystyrene trays and covering them with cling wrap.
Source: Environment Victoria's DUMP Report 2007 (2007)
This 2013 report by The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) investigates the labour and human rights risks in supply chain sourcing. This company is identified on page 21 as a company which sources products from countries with known systemic labour and human rights concerns.
Source: ACSI (2013)
Woolworths received widespread criticism in 2007/8 for its green-washing campaign surrounding the Select toilet paper and tissues, which they were sourcing from Asia Pulp Paper.
Source: Expose Woolworths (2008)
In August 2007 the giant supermarket chain Woolworths was revealed to be marketing some of its own tissue and paper products sporting a 'Sustainable Forest Fibre' logo and stating that they were made from 'a certified environmentally managed company that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible'. While the products indicated that they were sourced from Indonesia, the only hint as to which company was the supplier were the letters APP on one tissue pack (APP is the acronym for Asia Pulp and Paper). [Listed under information due to age of report]
Source: Sourcewatch (2007)
In 2011 the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Complaints Resolution Panel upheld a complaint about an ad by this company on the grounds that it breached advertising codes. The ad was subsequently withdrawn.
Source: TGA Complaints Resolution Panel (2011)
Involved in sale of tobacco-related products as a non-core business.
Source: company website (2020)
Yellow rating in Greenpeace Canned Tuna Guide. "Woolworths' private labels took 8th place this year. Woolworths have made good commitments in the past, but it needs to back these up with a commitment to transparency. Woolworths should provide more evidence to verify the traceability of their tuna and other sustainability and ethical sourcing commitments. Not all of its private label tuna cans are labelled with the specific catch method. Woolworths is also the only major retailer continuing to stock Greenseas, the last brand still using destructive FADs. We look forward to seeing Woolworths do better next year."
Source: Canned Tuna Guide (2017)
Independent testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth found potentially harmful nanoparticles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and silica (SiO2) in a range of food products including products by this company. The silica and titanium dioxide in all 14 food products tested contained a high proportion of nanoparticles that have not been tested, labelled or approved for consumption in Australia. Furthermore, peer reviewed studies have raised health serious health concerns regarding the use of these nanoparticles in food.
Source: FOE (2015)
In Dec 2006 the Federal Court of Australia ordered Woolworths to pay $7 million plus legal fees, for entering into and giving effect to illegal anticompetitive agreements with small business liquor licence applicants. In his judgment Justice Allsop described Woolworths' purpose in entering into the agreements as aimed at preventing the entry of new competitors into local retail packaged takeaway liquor markets so as to protect Woolworths' liquor businesses.[noted as Information due to age of court order]
Source: ACCC (2006)
On 14 April 2014, the Federal Court of Australia found supermarket giant Woolworths breached an undertaking on fuel shopper dockets, but that its rival Coles did not break the agreement. Woolworths had breached the agreement for the first three months of 2014, when it offered discounts of up to eight cents a litre.
Source: ACCC (2014)
In June 2016 the Fair Work Ombudsman issued a report criticising Woolworths with a finding that some trolley collectors working at its supermarkets were being paid as little as $10 an hour. 79% of sites visited had indications of some form of non-compliance with workplace laws, with 49% of sites presenting serious issues.
Source: Fair Work Ombudsman (2016)
In 2021 Woolworths paid $44.5 million to settle a class action with shareholders, who may have bought shares at an inflated price because of improper company reporting.
Source: news article (2021)
According to the democracyforsale.net website, this company donated $178,505 to Australia's major political parties between 2012 and 2018, as disclosed to the Australian Electoral Commision (AEC).
Source: Democracy For Sale (2018)
This company manufactures or distributes products that are certified organic under the Australian Certified Organic label.
Source: ACO (2018)
This company sells Rainforest Alliance certified products. However this only represents a fraction of this company's total private label products sales. Rainforest Alliance certification has been dubbed 'Fairtrade light' by critics, as it offers producers no minimum price for their crop, and guarantees a minimum of just 30% of the product is certified.
Source: Rainforest Alliance (2020)
This company is an FSC Australia Retail Supporter. A Retail Supporter is an organisation that sells FSC Certified products (among others) to consumers. These are companies who not only wish to sell certified products, but promote and support FSC at the same time.
Source: FSC Australia (2017)
Some, but not necessarily all, of this company's products are palm oil free, or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). For more details, follow the link to see Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia's list of products which manufacturers have told them are palm oil free or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil.
Source: BOS Australia (2020)
This company has agreed to phase out the use of microbeads in their own-brand products by 2017. These particles are not retained by wastewater treatment so end up in the ocean. While microbeads aren't thought to be a health hazard to consumers, they are a threat to the marine environment.
Source: CHOICE (2016)
This company sells Fairtrade Certified coffee. However this only represents a fraction of their total coffee sales.
Source: Fairtrade ANZ (2018)
All Woolworths brand chicken products use humanely farmed RSPCA Approved chicken. These farms raise their birds in an enriched barn environment. Chickens enjoy space to move, good lighting and can perch, dustbathe and forage.
Source: RSPCA Australia (2020)
This company is listed on the RSPCA Australia website as 'cage-free and proud', signifying a commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. Essentially cage-free means barn laid, which is better than cage eggs, but still much worse than free-range or organic eggs when it comes to animal welfare.
Source: RSPCA Australia (2020)
Between 2015 and 2018 this company paid $2.3 billion tax on a total income of $149 billion, earning the number 9 spot on Michael West's Top 40 Tax Payers 2020. West calculated which of Australia's largest companies have paid the most tax using three years of tax transparency data published by the Australian Tax Office.
Source: Michael West (2018)
In March 2014 Woolworths published the names and addresses of 52 factories in Bangladesh, which Woolworths Limited's retail brands (including BIG W) source from.
Source: company website (2014)
This company has sustainability claims on its website, including sustainability reports. Environmental claims cover animal welfare, sustainable seafood, GMOs, responding to climate change, sustainable forestry products and sustainable tea, coffee and chocolate.
Source: company website (2020)
From 2018 Woolworths is partnering with WWF Australia to further improve sustainable fisheries and seafood sourcing. WWF Australia is providing technical and strategic advice to guide Woolworths' seafood sustainability efforts. This includes assessing the ecological sustainability of Woolworth's seafood supply chain across Woolworths Own Brand seafood products, as well as all seafood products sold at the seafood counter in Woolworths stores. Woolworths is committed to improving tracking and labelling processes to ensure that all seafood products sold in their stores are traceable from source to sale.
Source: WWF Australia (2018)
This company has signed up to the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, which governs certain conduct by grocery retailers and wholesalers in their dealings with suppliers. It has rules relating to grocery supply agreements, payments, termination of agreements, dispute resolution and a range of other matters.
Source: ACCC (2015)
This company is a member of Bonsucro - Better Sugar Cane Initiative, a global non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation fostering the sustainability of the sugarcane sector through its leading metric-based certification scheme and its support for continuous improvement for members.
Source: Bonsucro (2019)
The United Nations Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. However it's non-binding nature has been widely criticised, and many signatory corporations continue to violate the Compact's values.
Source: UN Global Compact (2020)
The Material Change Index (MCI) is a voluntary benchmark that tracks the apparel and textiles sector's progress toward more sustainable materials sourcing (cotton, polyester, nylon, manmade cellulosics, wool, down and leather), as well as alignment with global efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals and the transition to a circular economy. This company was rated "Maturing", the second highest performance band.
Source: Textile Exchange (2019)
The WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2019 assesses 173 companies on the commitments they have made, and the actions they have taken, to ensure that there is no destruction of nature including no deforestation along their supply chains; and support a responsible and sustainable palm oil industry beyond their own supply chain. This company is rated 'middle of the pack' with a score of 11.4 out of a possible total of 22.
Source: WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2019 (2019)
The 2019 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 200 of the largest publicly traded companies in the world from the Agricultural Products, Apparel, Extractives and ICT Manufacturing sectors on 100 human rights indicators. This company's score was in the 30-40 band range. The overall average score was a disappointing 24%.
Source: CHRB (2019)
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 42/100 in the Food & Staples Retailing category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 7 Feb 2021). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
Source: S&P Global (2021)
The Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge (Transparency Pledge) helps demonstrate apparel and footwear companies' commitment towards greater transparency in their manufacturing supply chain. Transparency of a company's manufacturing supply chain better enables a company to collaborate with civil society in identifying, assessing, and avoiding actual or potential adverse human rights impacts. This is a critical step that strengthens a company's human rights due diligence. This company has published limited supplier factory information, and falls well short of the Pledge standard.
Source: Transparency Pledge (2019)
|Revenue||$4.2 billion in 2012|
|Employees||17,000 in 2012|
|Address||1 Woolworths Way, Bella Vista, NSW, 2153, Australia|
|Phone||1300 244 999|
Products / BrandsBig W
Avella Womens Plus Size
Big W Electronics Stores
Big W Department Stores
Big W Toy Stores
Big W Everyday Apparel
Big W Homewares Stores