Chemical safety

Some of the key initiatives undertaken during the year are detailed below.


Bunnings continues to develop and enhance storage and handling guidelines and risk assessments as part of its safety framework. This includes safety and emergency management procedures to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals. Bunnings works collaboratively with emergency service agencies to provide secure 24-hour access to site plans, storage manifests and emergency response guides to assist first responders in the event of a fire or serious incident.  

During the year, Bunnings maintained its commitment to continuous improvement, with further initiatives to support multiple store designs and safe handling of liquified petroleum gas cylinders, welding gas cylinders, pool chemicals and other dangerous goods. Control measures are regularly reviewed and updated as required. 

In the 2023 financial year, Bunnings implemented processes and controls to include the sale of lithium batteries online. This involved the inclusion of larger miscellaneous (class nine) dangerous goods batteries available for online customers, supported by a third-party emergency contact centre. 

To ensure the safe collection and transport of dangerous goods, Bunnings continued to work with contracted waste services providers to continuously improve hazardous waste collection processes. 

Kmart Group

Minimising and restricting chemicals used in production, such as dyes, colourants and solvents, is important to ensure product safety and reduce the risk to water systems, which can be impacted by the release of hazardous substances. Managing this risk is particularly critical in the production of apparel and textile products given the high use of water in the washing and dyeing process.

Kmart Group, via its retail businesses Kmart and Target Australia, is a member of Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) program, a coalition of fashion retailers and brands, value chain affiliates and associates working to ensure the safe and responsible management of chemicals in the global textile, leather, apparel and footwear value chain.

As part of this alliance, Kmart Group is working to implement the ZDHC manufacturing restricted substance list (MRSL) with all wet processing facilities used in the production of own-brand clothing, towel and bedding products. The ZDHC MRSL provides retailers and suppliers with a harmonised approach to managing chemicals during the processing of raw materials. The ZDHC MRSL achieves this by providing a clear list of priority chemicals and specifying the maximum concentration limit of each substance.

As of March 2023, 220 wet processing facilities had registered with ZDHC and connected with Kmart Group through the ZDHC Gateway portal, an increase of 70 facilities from one year ago. Of these 220 facilities, 114 are in full compliance with both ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines and MRSL v2.0.

Previously, most facilities in full compliance were from Bangladesh, with a small number from India, China, Pakistan and Vietnam. In the last year, MRSL compliance has increased in all manufacturing regions. Kmart Group publishes progress of its wet processors on Detox Live, which shows companies that meet MRSL Wastewater Guidelines and those still with work to do on corrective action. Access to full results of Kmart Group wet processing facilities, such as test reports, can be accessed by searching the Institute of Public & Environment Affairs (IPE) website.

Kmart Group will continue to expand the scope of this program, with a particular focus on including man-made cellulosic fibre suppliers.

Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers

WesCEF adheres to strict safety procedures and multiple Australian regulatory standards in the handling, managing and storing of hazardous chemicals. These are essential to mitigating risks to team member and community health and safety, as well as the environment.

WesCEF has many years of experience manufacturing, storing and distributing hazardous chemicals and as a result, has a very mature hazard reporting system that is accessible to all site team members. The system enables team members to proactively identify and record hazards, enabling corrective actions to be implemented to avoid an incident involving an uncontrolled release of a chemical.

WesCEF’s hygiene monitoring program ensures that if there is a potential team member exposure to hazardous chemicals, appropriate control measures are identified and implemented. This may include additional personal protective equipment (PPE) being worn, additional health monitoring conducted or an engineering solution implemented to eliminate the risk.

Other important components for reliable and effective containment and control of chemicals are the inspection and maintenance programs for WesCEF’s process plants. On a weekly basis, preventative maintenance works are undertaken on plant equipment and parts to avoid unplanned downtime, keep production on schedule and ensure a safe operating environment for team members.

GRI 3-3, GRI 416-1, GRI 417-1, GRI 413-2