Sustainability means many things to many people. For Woolworths South Africa it is a journey, a Good Business Journey, on which they are making great progress. We caught up with Tom McLaughlin and Tyrone Williams to find out a bit more about their Good Business Journey and their commitment to sourcing sustainable cocoa.
Woolworths Good Business Journey is an ambitious plan – and as you say a journey to becoming a sustainable company – why is it important to you and your customers to take this journey?
Tom Mclaughlin, Good Business Journey project manager: Back in 2007 when we launched our Good Business Journey, our then CEO now Chairman, Simon Susman, put it this way: “It is becoming increasingly obvious that sustainable growth can only be achieved through paying greater attention to the world around us than has been the case in the past. The links between economic growth, transformation, poverty alleviation, the environment and climate change can either form a vicious or a virtuous circle. For the past 75 years, these issues have been deep at the heart of Woolworths’ values but the launch of the Woolworths ‘Good Business Journey’ marks a step change in the way we will operate going forward, ensuring that we drive that virtuous circle that will benefit all of our stakeholders.”
How is UTZ Certified helping Woolworths make progress with the Good Business Journey?
Tyrone Williams, Sweet Technologist: In brief, our sustainability program, Good Business Journey, is a comprehensive plan, which includes sustainable farming and sourcing sustainable ingredients. We identified the social, environmental and economic problems related to cocoa farming and wanted to be involved and make a difference. Since 2012 when we started our strategic partnership with UTZ Certified, we’ve increased our sustainable cocoa component from 25% to 100% mass balance.
Woolworths launched a multimedia campaign last year to mark the latest milestone in your Good Business Journey. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Tyrone Williams: We want to take our consumers with us on our sustainability journey and as such launched a campaign in Q4 2014 across various marketing channels, including social media, online, print and in-store. It’s about informing and educating our consumers and showing them what we’re doing to support cocoa farming while at the same time making sure they keep enjoying their favorite products.
You visited some UTZ certified cocoa cooperatives in Ghana. What stood out the most to you during that trip?
Tyrone Williams: It was exciting to see and hear the impact the UTZ program was having in the field. From farmers talking about the improved cocoa yield successes, year on year since the introduction of the program to seeing classrooms filled with young children eager to learn at school. Ghana is a beautiful country, still with many challenges for the cocoa industry however everyone spoke of the positive influence the UTZ program had on their daily lives.
Can you share any (UTZ-related) upcoming activities with us?
Tyrone Williams: In the immediate future we have begun including QR codes on Woolworths chocolate packaging, which takes customers to a short cocoa video clip and educating them further on the UTZ program. We are in discussions with Marketing to develop activation models to celebrate the achievement of meeting our 2016 milestones.
Thanks to Tom and Tyrone for sharing these insights. If you are inspired by the Woolworths Good Business Journey or want to discuss ideas for communicating your commitment to sustainable sourcing, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to share more examples with you.
For more information visit www.woolworths.co.za