Woolworths releases bold sustainability targets

Ian-Moir-WHL-group-CEOWoolworths Holdings Limited (WHL) is on an ambitious journey of continuous change in the way it does business and has put sustainability at the core of its strategy. Central to this is the setting of sustainability targets for the group, and WHL is proud to announce its Good Business Journey (GBJ) goals for 2020.

The WHL GBJ was ground-breaking in South Africa when launched in 2007. It aims to reduce the business’ environmental impact and increase its social and economic impact across the entire value chain. The GBJ focuses on improving eight key areas of the business: 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 R567 million in cost savings made through sustainability interventions in the company and its supply chain to date.

New markets, targets and initiatives

For the first time, the group’s GBJ 2020 targets will incorporate the WHL international businesses, including the rest of our African operations, David Jones and Country Road Group, thereby extending the knowledge and experiences gained in South Africa across borders. In Australia, WHL will be introducing formal sustainability scorecards for David Jones and Country Road Group towards the last quarter of the 2016 calendar year, thereby aligning the GBJ programme across all its Southern Hemisphere operations.

The WHL group GBJ 2020 commitments are a progression of its earlier journey and include:

Ian Moir, WHL group CEO, comments: ‘Sustainability is at the core of our business and we are very proud of the new targets we have announced. Since we launched the GBJ in 2007, we have achieved some remarkable milestones, learnt valuable lessons, and set significant industry benchmarks. Going forward, we also see the opportunity to amplify these positive impacts beyond South Africa through the activation of the GBJ programme at both David Jones and Country Road Group in Australia.’

The GBJ 2020 scorecard incorporates traceability and the development of responsible sourcing strategies for high risk commodities including palm oil, cocoa, sugar, soy, cotton, leather and viscose.  It will also incorporate an improved animal welfare rating system and responses, and make significant progress in eliminating hazardous chemical usage across the clothing supply chain.

GBJ 2015 update and achievements

WHL recently published its GBJ 2015 report, demonstrating significant progress across the eight key areas. It achieved 87 percent on its targets for the financial year, and met or exceeded targets in 164 of 200 indicators over the period 2012 to 2015.

The top 10 GBJ highlights were:

 ‘The new 2020 goals are bold but achievable with the collaboration and commitment of our colleagues, suppliers and customers,’ concluded Moir.

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