The group says that it donated surplus food to the value of R95-million, while ploughing a cumulative R26.5-million into community food gardens since starting to support such gardens in 2015.

The group adds that this was in order to build resilient communities, with hunger relief at the heart of its corporate social investment programmes.

The group also invested just over R490-million in training and skills development programmes rolled out to both employees and non-employees. Furthermore, its employees enjoy job security as none of its 141 245 employees were retrenched.

The group says that it is committed to reducing its environmental impact ,while promoting operational efficiency. The retailer has subsequently aligned its goals focused on climate change, water security, sustainable packaging, waste management and responsible sourcing. 

These closely resonate with that of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The retailer also formulated position statements on climate change and water security in the last year.

"Our approach to the problem of climate change is twofold: In the first instance, we try to mitigate its effects by for instance increasing our reliance on renewable energy sources and rolling out energy-efficient lighting in our stores," says Sanjeev Raghubir, the group's sustainability manager.

"The other way is through adaptation, where we seek to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of our operations and that of the communities in which we operate. [This is done] by ensuring food security through the extensive support of community food gardens, surplus food donations and disaster relief through our fleet of mobile soup kitchens," adds Raghubir.

"We are extremely proud of the sustainability milestones reached in the last financial year and look forward to doing more to support the communities we serve to safeguard our environment and to continue to provide job opportunities," concludes Raghubir.

The Sustainability Report taims to give the complete picture of the group's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group's accomplishments recorded in the survey include:

  • giving 3.5 million training hours of which 2.2. million hours were spent on e-learning training, and
  • seeing 4 759 people graduated with a national qualification.
  • receiving five awards for most recognisable and trusted brand, and
  • seeing customers donating more than R1.7-million via the Act For Change Fund to the Solidarity Fund.
  • having reused and recycled 37 312 tons of cardboard
  • having more than 600 of its trailers powered by solar panels
  • having increased the use of solar energy by 25%, and
  • having converted 938 656 litres of used cooking oil to biodiesel. 
  • having invested R135-million in CSI projects and programmes
  • having served more than 34 million meals to communities in need, and
  • growing the number of food gardens supported to 119 suppliers. 
  • having directed 4.4% of supplier spend to black women-owned businesses, and
  • having invested a further R9.5-million in a fund, established to support SMEs, bringing the total investment to R94.5 million to date.
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