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Ahold Delhaize poaches Woolworths Chief Sustainability Officer

Alex Holt will succeed Jan Ernst de Groot in April 2024.
Melodie Michel
Ahold Delhaize poaches Woolworths Chief Sustainability Officer
Alex Holt, currently Chief Sustainability of Woolworths, will join Ahold Delhaize in April 2024

Ahold Delhaize has found its next Chief Sustainability Officer in Alex Holt, the current CSO of Australian retailer Woolworths.

The Europe-headquartered retail conglomerate, valued at more than €25 billion, announced last month that its current Chief Legal and Sustainability Officer, Jan Ernst de Groot, would be retiring in May 2024 – and has now found a replacement.

Holt has been in charge of sustainability at ASX-listed Woolworths Group since 2016, and became its first Chief Sustainability Officer in 2021, leading the development of its 2025 Sustainability Plan. She has had a 20+ year career in food distribution (having previously worked at Tesco) and currently serves as non-executive director on the board of NGO Foodbank Australia.

She will relocate from Australia to the Netherlands in April 2024 to take on her role at Ahold Delhaize, where her main priority will be around accelerating the firm’s supply chain sustainability plans in order to meet its updated 2030 target to cut value chain emissions by 37%.

Half of Ahold Delhaize’s top 100 suppliers are already committed to setting an SBTi-aligned emissions reduction target, but achieving the emissions reduction goal will require encouraging many more suppliers and farmers to decarbonise.

In addition, Holt will lead efforts to reduce operational emissions by 29% by 2025 – and there, will no doubt leverage her experience lowering Woolworths’ Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 36% between 2015 and 2023.

“I am very excited to join Ahold Delhaize, a company that wants to contribute positively to the transition to a sustainable food system. I am looking forward to partnering with the executive team, sustainability and business leaders across the company and across the industry to tackle the challenges that we face together, and seize the opportunities that create the biggest impact,” she said about her appointment.

Food retailers are likely to be at the centre of the next wave of climate action, after 134 countries committed to including food systems in their nationally-determined contributions at COP28.

Read also: Global food companies worth US$2.1 trillion join forces for sustainable farming