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Woolworths and WWF South Africa celebrate 15 years of pioneering partnership for a sustainable future

| Going green

In an exciting milestone, Woolworths, a global leader in responsible retailing, and WWF South Africa marked a significant moment of collaboration, reaffirming their steadfast commitment to a shared vision of environmental stewardship.

Woolworths’ Good Business Journey (GBJ), a cornerstone initiative since its inception in 2007, has underpinned the company’s ambition to be one of the world’s most responsible retailers.  Beyond profit margins, Woolworths acknowledges a profound duty to positively impact the lives of not only its employees, their families, and business partners, but also the wellbeing of communities and the planet at large.

With a 92-year history of innovation and forward-thinking leadership, Woolworths has consistently sought ways to make a positive difference.  The enduring partnership with WWF stands as testament to this pioneering spirit.

“Fifteen years ago, we became the first retailer to align forces with WWF in South Africa.  This landmark collaboration aimed to pioneer a better way of doing things. For us, the ambition is not only to change and improve how we do things, but also how our broader industry operates into the future.  Together, we have spearheaded advancements in sustainable farming and seafood sourcing, water stewardship, alien plant clearing, on-pack recycling labelling and various initiatives, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of responsible business practice,” said Roy Bagattini, Group CEO Woolworths Holdings Limited.

“Our partnership is more than a union of two entities; it is aligned on its purpose. By working together, we have combined our expertise for the benefit of a shared vision.”

On commenting on the partnership Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa said. “Long-term partnerships with businesses help us to achieve an equitable and inclusive, nature-positive, and carbon-neutral world. Modifying supply chains and business practices is essential to reverse the decline of nature, mitigating significant business risks while also creating new opportunities. Leading businesses like Woolworths are already taking steps to become "nature positive" by transforming their operations and supply chains, contributing to the overall improvement of the sector and the protection of nature,”.

Through the technical prowess of WWF, Woolworths has been able to harness invaluable expertise across diverse realms. From water risk management to product lifecycle assessments and smallholder cotton farming projects, the partnership has blazed trails in a multitude of areas critical to sustainability.

Over 15 years, the partnership has focused on some important areas, including:

  • Freshwater, through
    • freshwater stewardship and
    • water balance projects.
  • Seafood and aquaculture, by our partnerships with
    • WWF-SASSI,
    • the WWF-South Africa seafood naming project,
    • small-scale fisheries engagement,
    • fishery improvement and conservation projects,
    • and consumer engagement.
  • Agriculture, through establishing
    • supplier best practice,
    • fruit and wine best practice,
    • and farming sustainable sugar, cotton and dairy.
  • Supply chain and consumption in
    • transport and logistics,
    • food waste,
    • palm oil and soy commitments,
    • deforestation commitments,
    • sustainable nutrition and lifestyles,
    • and Life Cycle Assessments.

Looking ahead, Woolworths and WWF are poised to build on this solid foundation, charting a course for even greater collaboration. Their shared commitment to sustainable retail is unwavering, guided by a resolute focus on long-term impact.

The success of this partnership owes much to the dedicated teams at Woolworths and WWF, whose unwavering commitment has been instrumental in shaping the world for the better. Together, they have woven sustainability into every aspect of Woolworths' operations, making a tangible difference in the global pursuit of a greener, more sustainable future.

“We are excited to embark on the next phase of this extraordinary partnership and are intent on building on this foundation to do even more together.  For us, sustainability is more than minimising and mitigating the negative impacts we collectively do, but critically it’s about actively giving back more than we take. It is one of the greatest responsibilities of our time," concludes Bagattini.

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