We’re committed to playing our part in ensuring that the Woolies business is resilient in the face of climate change, while always making every effort to reduce our impact on the environment. Right now, we’re doing everything we can to think ahead, reduce our energy consumption and carbon emissions, and use more renewable energy sources wherever possible. 

Over the years, the data has shown steady progress in our energy productivity. It’s changed the way we make decisions throughout the business, and we have no doubt that these small, powerful shifts will lead to even more proactive change in the future. 

We’re on a journey to:

  • Improve energy efficiency
  • Reduce our carbon emissions
  • Achieve a low carbon transition 




We’re focussed on energy efficiency and emissions reduction, and have begun a low-carbon transition journey. Understanding our energy footprint involves monitoring our energy use and carbon footprint very closely, and that’s why we’ve taken care to measure, track and manage our progress over time, while also enjoying the benefits of saving energy and reducing costs.  

With the bigger picture in mind, we’ve launched programmes like Farming for the Future, where our stakeholders, suppliers and industry experts work together to create sustainable, climate-friendly solutions.

We’ve launched company-wide training and awareness programmes to make sure that the entire business is united as we work towards these important goals. These programmes inspire our staff to uphold best practices in our facilities, stores and distribution centres.

Real-time electricity monitoring
We’re able to monitor the majority of our head office, distribution centres and stores’ electricity usage through online real-time monitoring. This allows us to measure, track and manage our progress over time.

Green stores
Woolworths approach to green buildings entails utilising an internally developed green building protocol to ensure all managed stores operate in the most energy-efficient way possible. The protocol involves rating and classifying stores into three categories (Platinum, Gold and Silver) in accordance with the green design features they possess. This rating system helps with allocating funding to future-proof stores with the most energy-efficient technology. Green design features include energy-saving elements like natural ventilation, automated and energy-efficient lighting, and natural gas refrigeration.

Fridge doors
We’ve installed closed-door refrigeration in our Food stores. These result in an almost 25% reduction in energy usage at our stores. An added benefit of this technology is the reduction in food waste, thanks to improved cold-chain maintenance and an increase in shelf-life.

We’ve started replacing old metal halide and fluorescent luminaires with energy efficient LEDs in selected stores across the Group. This energy efficient solution provides a better colour spectrum across the store and enables us to reduce the store’s carbon footprint, save energy resources, and reduce operating costs. The LED lighting also has an improved lifespan compared to traditional fluorescent lighting, resulting in reduced maintenance requirements.

Natural gas refrigeration
Since 2010, Woolworths has been on a journey to install natural gas CO2 refrigeration systems in our Food stores. Unlike conventional synthetic gas refrigeration gases, CO2 has virtually no impact on the earth’s ozone layer, with negligible impacts on the climate. It also uses less energy.

Renewable energy
As part of our commitment to sourcing all our energy from renewables by 2030, we continue to invest in renewable energy in our operations through installations and, where possible, power purchase agreements. 

Energy efficient logistics
We continue to invest in route optimisation and temperature management of refrigeration systems in our delivery vehicles. We also continue to trial new hybrid or electric technology where viable.

Green factories
We launched a green factories programme in 2017 to help support our Food suppliers in finding ways to continuously improve the way they manage their environmental and social impact. As part of this programme, each year, we ask our suppliers to complete a holistic assessment that takes into account sustainability management, water, energy, waste, human rights, employee wellbeing, lean manufacturing, transformation and responsible sourcing.


  • We have six renewable energy installations in our direct operations
  • Our acrylic fridge doors result in energy savings of approximately 25% upon installation
  • We have two facilities that are Green-star rated by the Green Building Council of South Africa: Palmyra Junction store and Montague Gardens food distribution centre


Our 5 energy saving tips for your home

  • On average, geysers account for 39% of household electricity use. Set your geyser to 60°C and use a geyser blanket (an additional layer of insulation wrapped around your geyser) to keep water hotter for longer. When you’re not at home, switch off your geyser to save energy.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs such as LEDs or CFLs. They use 75% to 80% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, and last much longer. Just remember that some of these energy saving bulbs, specifically CFLs, contain small amounts of harmful chemicals and must be disposed of safely. Drop them into the “drop-off points” at your nearest Woolies store.
  • Switch off plug points not in use. Appliances such as computers, TVs and media players can use up to 50% of a household’s electricity, even when they’re in standby mode. You may also want to invest in energy-saving plugs.
  • The changing seasons will also affect your energy consumption. In summer, use a fan rather than an air conditioner. In winter, get out those winter woollies and wear warmer clothes or use blankets when the weather starts to cool.
  • Many people perform better when they’re being monitored, so if this strategy works for you, monitor the electricity consumption of your home on a month-to-month basis. It is surprisingly exciting to see how your energy saving efforts translate into monetary savings.