More than A$3.7m in grants to nine Australian businesses to implement sustainability plans

To mark World Environment Day on 5 June Coles awarded a new round of Coles Nurture Fund grants nine small- and medium-sized businesses across Australia to implement plans to drive sustainability and innovation.  

Rod and Karen Duncan_Prada Farms_website

Rod and Karen Duncan of Prada Farms

The latest grants, of up to A$500,000, bring the total financial support awarded through the Coles Nurture Fund to more than A$36m across 108 businesses since the funding initiative was established in 2015.  

Western Australia-based avocado farm, Prada Farms, was awarded A$461,000 to transition to a fully electric harvesting system that is charged by renewable energy. Co-owner and second-generation avocado farmer, Rod Duncan, said he is passionate about making the process more efficient and environmentally friendly.  

“Our vision is to have a net zero emissions harvesting process, and the Coles Nurture Fund grant will help us move towards that vision,” he said.  

“Prada Farms is incredibly proud to be installing an off-grid solar system to charge electric farming vehicles, electric cherry pickers, and a lithium battery powered forklift, to help harvest our beautiful avocados. It has been a family commitment, with three generations involved – my 90-year-old Mum, and my daughter.” 

Duncan intends to have up to six machines ready for the harvesting season in October. 

“Together with our electric buggies and soon-to-be solar powered shed, we are well on our way to harvesting the fruit using a completely electric and low emissions system,” Duncan said.  

“This grant means a lot to our farm and our family, and we are extremely grateful to the Coles Nurture Fund for making it possible. It’s such a great message for other farmers in the area to see how being sustainable can accelerate your business.”  

Coles group chief commercial officer Anna Croft said the round 12 recipients were chosen for their industry leading and high-impact projects that will achieve impressive sustainability goals.  

“We are proud to be able to award more than A$3.7m to nine Australian small- and medium-sized businesses — located across Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia — as part of the latest round of the Coles Nurture Fund,” Croft said.  

“I am excited to watch all of the recipients bring to life their incredible ideas in their respective industries – demonstrating they are leading the way when it comes to innovation and sustainability.”  

Coles ambassador and Nurture Fund judging panelist Curtis Stone said this year’s nine recipients were an impressive example of Australian businesses who are driving positive change across a diverse range of industries.  

“I am blown away by the wonderful list of applicants for Coles Nurture Fund for round 12, and the nine successful businesses are extremely worthy recipients,” said Stone. “It’s so fulfilling to know Coles will be granting close to A$3.7m to assist these amazing suppliers – to help them to make changes that drive sustainability and reduce emissions and waste at a time when many businesses are feeling the pinch.”