NBBN Partner Profile
at the core of our business”
Moir, WHL Group CEO
Woolworths Holdings Limited
Holdings Limited (WHL) is a southern hemisphere retail Group, and is
one of the top 40 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Limited (JSE). WHL now employs more than 43 000 employees across 14
countries and trades in almost 1 400 store locations. Woolworths South
Africa is one of three major operating divisions of WHL and operates
across 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
first Woolworths South Africa store opened its doors to the public in
Cape Town in October 1931. And it was founder, Max Sonnenberg, who
captured the public’s imagination with dynamic store policies that set
Woolworths apart from its competitors.
is striving to be a leading responsible retailer, by not only complying
with generic sustainability goals but by truly embedding sustainability
into the way they do business, whether in their own operations or
across their supply chain. To achieve this target Woolworths is on an
ambitious journey of continuous improvement in the way it does business
and has put sustainability at the core of its strategy by entrenching
the values of sustainability throughout its operations as well as in
the company’s mission statement and as one of the seven Woolworths
Woolworths Mission Statement: To
be the first choice for customers who care about value, innovation and
sustainability in the southern hemisphere.
that doing business is no longer only about profit, but also creating
shared value and meeting responsibilities to contribute to economic
development and give back to communities and the planet. Woolworths
also realises that they are not a company that exists in isolation and
that their business forms part of a complex and globalised supply
chain, and as such Woolworths has the potential to positively influence
both upstream and downstream value chain players in order to drive
positive and sustainable change.
always been a component of Woolworths’ corporate reporting. For a number of years,
Woolworths has developed a comprehensive sustainability report,
alongside the company’s annual integrated report. The report, entitled the Good Business Journey Report, uses the recommendations of King III and the Global
Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines form
the basis for this report. Woolworths is also a signatory to the UN
Woolworths Good Business Journey
growth of the WHL Group has created an opportunity for more consistent
and increased influence across their global supply chain and broader
customer base around sustainability issues. The Woolworths Good
Business Journey (GBJ) programme was launched in April 2007 as a
formalisation of Woolworths sustainability commitments.
development of the GBJ strategy arose from a comprehensive and
systematic review of the way Woolworths addresses the issue of
sustainable growth within the context of the changing local social and
environmental needs of South Africa as well the complex global
challenges which Woolworths has a role in addressing.
The GBJ forms one of the core
business strategies, and as a result is strongly integrated into
Woolworths operations and supply chain. The GBJ aims to minimise the
business’ environmental impact and increase its social and economic
impact across the entire value chain. The strategy consists of eight focus areas
– the main drivers of value creation and the material aspects to
address sustainability in the Group. The eight key areas of the
business are: energy, water, waste, sustainable farming, ethical
sourcing, transformation, social development and health and wellness,
with over 200 targets supporting this. The GBJ has also realised R567m
in cost savings made through sustainability interventions in the
company and its supply chain to date. For more information on the
Woolworths Good Business Journey click here.
Woolworths Good Business Journey
Commitments for 2020
first time, the Group’s GBJ 2020 targets will incorporate the WHL
international businesses, including the rest of their African
operations, David Jones and Country Road Group, thereby extending the
knowledge and experiences gained in South Africa across borders.
Group GBJ 2020 commitments are a progression of its earlier
journey and include:
Contributing over R3.5-billion across the Group to communities over the
next 5 years;
Saving 500 billion litres of water over 5 years;
Ensuring the company halves its energy impact by 2020
and achieves 100% clean energy by 2030 ;
Driving responsible sourcing of all key commodities by
Affirming that every private-label product sold has at
least one sustainability attribute by 2020.
has also received a number of local and international awards for the
programme - twice being named International Responsible Retailer of
the Year, is included in a number of global sustainable investment
indices including the JSE SRI (Now FTSE-Russell ESG Index), Dow Jones
and Euronext Vigeo and also participates annually in the Carbon
Disclosure Project for Climate Change, Water and Forests.
Implementing the UN’s
Sustainable Development Goals
In September 2015,
the UN’s General Assembly agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) consist of 17
goals and 169 targets to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice,
and tackle climate change by 2030. Subsequently Woolworths reviewed
their Good Business Journey strategy internally against the SDG’s. To
see how Woolworths strategy aligns to the SDG’s, key opportunities for
shared value and highlight the importance of partnership in this
journey please click on the image below.
with their suppliers, Woolworths strives to operate in a way that
respects worker rights, maintains safe working conditions and protects
the environment and the welfare of animals. To this end, Woolworths has
undertaken a number of new and innovative programmes to achieve a more
ethical and sustainability-focussed supply chain.
Farming for the Future
with farmers, Woolworths is pioneering a new approach to growing food
sustainably and in harmony with nature so that South Africa’s farms will
be able to provide enough food for future generations - without
compromising quality or adding to the cost. This is Woolworths Farming
for the Future approach.
for the Future is a holistic approach that manages the entire farming
process systematically. It all starts with building and maintaining the
soil. Healthy soil is better able to retain water, so it needs less
irrigation and water use is reduced. It also needs fewer chemical
interventions, which means less chemical run-off, which, along with
less soil erosion and loss of top soil, helps maintain water quality
and biodiversity. Farmers also use integrated pest management
principles in order to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides and
herbicides and encourage biodiversity. At present, 98% of
primary produce, horticulture and wine suppliers are working as part of
the programme as well as a growing number of secondary suppliers.
key progress the Farming for the Future programme has made in 2016:
96 farms were audited last year as part of the programme
over the last year;
the WW compliance target for this year based on turnover
was 57%, while 68.4% was achieved;
23 horticulture suppliers are being introduced to the
has been partnering with WWF South Africa, Marks and Spencers and the
Alliance for Water Stewardship, to address water-related risks in the
stone fruit supply chain of
the Ceres area in the Western Cape. The project involves working with a group of
Woolworth’s fruit suppliers, and is working with them to implement the
Alliance for Water Stewardship standard, and find opportunities for
collective action, to address water efficiency and quality at a
catchment level. Watch the video below for more information on
Woolworths’ water stewardship initiative.
Cotton: Woolworths is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a global enterprise which aims
to create long-term change by helping farmers grow cotton in a way that
reduces stress on the local environment and improves the livelihoods of
farming communities. So far Woolworths has effected a 300% increase in
the amount of BCI cotton used in their garments and are aiming for 15%
of their cotton to be BCI by 2017.
Timber: Woolworths is also working
towards minimising and eventually eliminating deforestation and forest
degradation from their operations, aiming only to use sustainably
sourced or recycled wood products throughout its operations and use
timber and paper which is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
(FSC™) with a chain of custody (CoC) indicating that the product
originates from certified, well managed forests and/or other controlled
sources. In terms of sustainable fashion, they are also looking into
using more responsibly sourced viscose, bamboo and increasing the use
of recycled and alternative fabrics.
Palm Oil: Realising the significant
threat to biodiversity posed by the Palm Oil industry, Woolworths has
been purchasing GreenPalm certificates since 2011 to offset the many
tons of palm oil used by their suppliers. Woolworths is also now
actively working with suppliers to develop time-bound plans to switch
to sustainable palm oil, and already has a number of suppliers is using
‘mass balance’ certified sustainable palm oil.
was the first South African company to become a member of the global
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and through this
platform is helping to promote and raise awareness of the need for
sustainable palm oil.
for the Future:
Woolworths has also been engaging with organisations such as the WWF-SA
Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI) Marine Stewardship Council
(MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to ensure that its
wild-caught seafood comes from sustainable fisheries by 2015, and all
farmed fish by 2020.
Cocoa: Woolworths is working with UTZ
Certified to ensure that 100% of cocoa contained in all Woolworths
private label bar, boxed and slab chocolate cocoa are traceable and
produced in a way that ensures a fair wage and good living standards
for cocoa farmers and their families.
was also the first African retailer to strike a broad, multi-faceted
partnership with an environmental NGO (WWF-South Africa) in order to be
certain that its sustainability efforts are on the right track.
“We strive to be a leading
responsible retailer, by embedding sustainability into the way we do
business, whether in our own operations or in our supply chain. This is
why we’ve set a target for 2020 for 100% of our products to have at
least one sustainability attribute.” – Justin
Smith (WHL Group Sustainability Manager)
Partnering for Biodiversity
seeking to remain competitive and go beyond compliance Woolworths, as a
partner of the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN), has
become one of the forerunners in South Africa in terms of the
mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations into their business.
only has the company provided platforms and opportunities to expand the
knowledgebase around business and biodiversity, it has taken on board
many of the learnings and recommendations developed by the network. The
NBBN would like to acknowledge Woolworths significant contribution to
the ongoing success of the network and its support of new, and
existing, partners of the NBBN going forward.