In this issue  

  • NBBN Partner Profile: Woolworths
  • 2016 National Biodiversity & Business Indaba
  • Recent news, reminders & publications
  • Job Listings

·       International events, publications and news


Other News

The DEA-NBBN publication entitled “Overview of current approaches and practices of South African businesses to the mainstreaming of biodiversity: a preliminary baseline assessment” can be downloaded by clicking here.




Contact us

For further information on the NBBN or related activities please contact:

Shelley Lizzio
Manager: National Biodiversity and Business Network
Endangered Wildlife Trust
W + 27 11 372 3600 | Ext 64 | 

F + 27 11 608 4682 | 

C + 27 72 210 2085
: | Web:


Welcome to the December 2016 issue of the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN) newsletter

To distribute any biodiversity and business relevant information to the network in the next newsletter, please forward the information to Shelley Lizzio ( by the 15th

January 2017.


NBBN Partner Profile



“Sustainability is at the core of our business”

 Ian Moir, WHL Group CEO

Woolworths Holdings Limited

Woolworths 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.

The 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.

Beyond Compliance

Woolworths 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 values.

Woolworths Mission Statement: To be the first choice for customers who care about value, innovation and sustainability in the southern hemisphere.

Woolworths realises 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.

Sustainability Reporting

Sustainability has 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 Global Compact.


Woolworths Good Business Journey

The 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.

The 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.$$5Y@Kbl6gAWaKqm9s4lfqw0j?

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.

cid:image009.jpg@01D2472D.CA38B4A0Woolworths Good Business Journey Commitments for 2020

For the 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.

The WHL 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 2020; and

               Affirming that every private-label product sold has at least one sustainability attribute by 2020.

Woolworths 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.

Image result for sdg logo

Ethical Sourcing

Together 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. for the Future

Together 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.

Farming 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.

Some 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 programme; and

Water Stewardship

Woolworths 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.


Responsible Sourcing

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.

Image result for palm oilPalm 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.

Woolworths 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.

Fishing 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.

Woolworths 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

Actively 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.

Not 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.






Theme: Transforming risk into opportunity

25 & 26 October 2016



The second annual National Biodiversity and Business Indaba was a resounding success with over a hundred people attending this sold-out event. Building on the remarkable success of the first Indaba held in 2015, the 2016 event attracted a diverse range of people from corporate South Africa, government, industry and various NGOs. The Indaba was held over two days in Johannesburg and through a range of presentations, case studies, roundtable discussion and key-note addresses the attendees learned how biodiversity loss is coming to the fore in the business world, where businesses are impacting and indeed where they are dependent on this declining resource.


Detailed proceedings and solutions from the event can be found HERE. Presentations from the Indaba are available for download on the National Biodiversity and Business Network website.





Past newsletter


In case you missed last month’s newsletter, please find an online version here.


Recent news, reminders & publications

Image result for world bank logo

World Bank Launches Climate Business Innovation Network. The World Bank and partners launched a Climate Business Innovation Network at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference in Morocco. The Network brings together over 30 foundations, donors, businesses, investors, venture funds, universities and government agencies. Read article here.


Africa’s Smallholder Farmers Among the Most Hurt by Climate Change. Experts use many numbers when talking about climate change. However, rising temperatures, the resulting crop failure, and the consequent loss of livelihoods and destitution of millions of households are this year’s most important and urgent developments for millions of smallholder farmers across the vastness of the African agro-ecological landscapes. Full article here.


Mainstreaming biodiversity into land-use regulation and management at the municipal scale. Municipalities have an increasingly significant role to play in biodiversity conservation as part of their mandate to provide a safe and healthy environment for its residents. In South Africa, the majority of municipalities are characterised by high levels of poverty, unemployment and limited service delivery. Often these municipalities overlap with Critical Biodiversity Areas. Full article here.


Forest biodiversity Patagonia

Richer forest biodiversity could rake in billions. Biodiversity is not just a conservationist ideal, it is a high-value strategy, according to new research. It makes forests more productive, and could deliver up to $500bn a year in wealth across the planet. Read the full article here.


Image result for green times logo

Oceans facts and futures: valuing South Africa’s ocean economy. Conservation of marine ecosystems is the foundation of ensuring that our oceans are able to produce goods and services which we rely on. Full article here.



Solar thermal power plants to save Egypt billions by 2050. Solar energy expert Hany El-Nokrashy, a member of the advisory council formed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, spoke to Daily News Egypt about his five-year plan to attract foreign investment and the establishment of solar power plants in the coming period. Read the full article here.




Job  Listings


Image result for oxford university logo

Fully-funded Scholarship in Sustainable Urban Development. The Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford is pleased to invite applications for a fully-funded scholarship worth over £34,000 to undertake the part-time MSc in Sustainable Urban Development for October 2017 entry. For more information click here.

 International events, publications and news

Image result for natural capital protocol logo

The Natural Capital Protocol recognised by the Council of the European Union. The Council of the European Union, gathered on 17 October 2016 in Luxembourg under Slovak Presidency, officially recognised the Natural Capital Protocol in the Outcome of the Council meeting. In its conclusions, the Council “considers that mainstreaming biodiversity provides new opportunities for all economic sectors, including the private sector”. Read the outcomes here.

Image result for finance for one planet

Finance for One Planet: new e-book presents the results of the Dutch Community of Practice Financial institutions and Natural Capital. Between 2014 and 2016, a group of 15 financial organisations were brought together in the Netherlands to learn about the relationship between investments and natural capital. Download the e-book here.

Image result for natural capital project logo

The Natural Capital Project invites you to join the 2017 Natural Capital Symposium at Stanford University from March 20-23, 2017. Featuring keynote speakers Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, and Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, this event is a major convening of leaders advancing the science and practice of incorporating nature’s diverse values into decisions. More details here.


Image result for cbd logo

4 – 17th December 2016, Mexico. 13th CBD COP 13 Business and Biodiversity Forum. The Forum will take place immediately prior to the start of the thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the CBD, which will be taking place 4 – 17 December 2016. The CBD Secretariat is working with the Government of Mexico to put together the 2016 CBD Business and Biodiversity Forum. The Forum will run in parallel with the Ministerial High-Level Segment of the COP. More information here.