Water availability and quality impact everything from the health and well-being of our employees and communities, to keeping our production facilities running smoothly and growing the food on our shelves. With water as such a critical resource to our operations – and that of every household and business – we aim to monitor and manage water consumption across everything we do. Our greatest impact is in the supply chain, and that’s why we’ve made water stewardship one of our main focus areas.
We collaborate with our suppliers, academic institutions, community organisations, and bodies like the WWF and the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate on various water projects and programmes.
We also work with our suppliers in implementing innovative solutions in their own businesses, including monitoring and managing water usage through programmes like Farming for the Future.
We’re committed to:
- Reducing water consumption, and managing wastewater across our operations and in our supply chain
- Partnering for collective action, research, and education
- Creating awareness among our employees, suppliers and customers, as well as at schools
OUR PLAN IN ACTION
Monitoring and management of water usage in our operations
Excellent water management starts with thorough monitoring. We look at our consumption patterns and other data to inform our next steps, and help us put measures in place to not only reduce our consumption in the short term, but to also make fundamental changes that allow us to use water responsibly.
Water efficient design
Our water-efficient stores, offices and distribution centres are designed to support solutions like rainwater harvesting, air-cooling of refrigeration and air conditioning, as well as the use of alternative water sources like groundwater, to help reduce our water consumption.
Bathrooms and greywater
Our facilities also have dual-flush ablution systems and timer taps on our basins. Where possible, we’ve installed greywater systems that help to retain water that can be safely re-used on-site. In the areas that have a water supply shortage, we take care to install back-up water tanks.
Bye-bye hazardous chemicals
Through our detox strategy, we have committed to eliminating 11 chemicals that have harmful impacts on water resources from our clothing supply chain. This commitment covers the entire life cycle and all production processes associated with the making and use of all Woolies clothing.
Water stewardship programmes in our supply chain
Within our supply chain, water availability and quality impact the sourcing of our raw materials as well as the processing of finished products. We have invested in green infrastructure through water stewardship programmes. We also engage with our suppliers to implement innovative solutions in their operations to help monitor and manage water usage through programmes such as Farming for the Future. We’ve also partnered with the WWF-SA Water Balance Programme to rehabilitate key water catchments through the removal of alien vegetation.
As part of the Woolworths Educational Programme, which supports the education, well-being and health of South African school children, we work with a number of schools to help educate children about the importance of water conservation, sanitation and good hygiene.
Through the Woolies Water Fund, established in partnership with Urban Harvest in 2018, Woolworths customers are able to help raise funds for sustainable water solutions, including water tanks, filtration systems and bore hole pumps, at under-resourced schools by nominating the Fund as a MySchool beneficiary.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Woolworths has established two water stewardship projects in key sourcing regions to date
- Through the Woolies Water Fund, water tanks, filtration systems and bore hole pumps are being installed at under-resourced schools
PLAYING YOUR PART
- Choose our RE: Denim range. It’s manufactured using ozone and laser technology to reduce water consumption, and no harmful chemicals are used in the dyeing process.
- Choose our Woolworths Earth Friendly cleaning range. It’s greywater safe, made from plant-based ingredients, and is free from artificial colourants. All its packaging is made from recycled plastic and is fully recyclable.
OUR WATER PROGRAMMES CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THESE UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: