Our road to green

Extreme weather affects customer service. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability is more vital than ever with a focus on efficient resource use, renewables and ecological principles being addressed to meet stakeholder expectations and regulations.

We recognise our business’s environmental impact and its reliance on critical ecosystem services to deliver products. It is our duty to respond to the global imperative by improving resource efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and understanding climate change effects on our operations, environment and society. We also advocate responsible and ethical sourcing for the products we offer.

As a responsible citizen, we understand the urgency to limit global warming to 1.5°C as per the Paris Agreement to avoid dangerous planetary systems changes and shocks. Our goal is to align our business with the group’s strategy, fostering environmental, social and economic sustainability. Our road to green, the journey to a more sustainable future, is a strategic imperative within our Building Better Business framework. Through collaboration across our operational businesses and with stakeholders, we aim to integrate sustainability further into our strategy, scale initiatives with positive impact, set targets and link them to incentives to reduce our environmental footprint.

Maintaining a low cost of doing business and focusing on resource efficiencies has inherently been part of Pepkor’s DNA and business model as a low-cost retailer. By controlling efficiencies and costs, we inevitably manage the use and impact on resources, including electricity and fuel. We have effectively managed and reduced the use through various initiatives over the years. While resource efficiency has been a primary focus, we are now taking more deliberate steps towards environmental protection. We have strengthened our environmental policy commitments to effectively manage environmental aspects, and established a strategic roadmap to promote group-wide risk management, initiatives and impact measurement.

Our supplier code of conduct was also updated for suppliers to improve environmental standards, procure sustainable products and materials, and build internal business awareness and support for environmental matters.

In our own operations, we will increase efforts to ensure more efficient use of natural resources, procure environmentally friendly products and materials, and give local preference, where feasible, to reduce the climate impact of transport.

Environmental policy and the UNGC

Our environmental policy serves as the foundation of our environmental strategy, supported by the board and executive management. It provides a framework that guides our operating businesses and the group in reducing our environmental impact and addressing material matters and risk management. This aligns with the three environmental principles of the UNGC:

7 Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.

8 Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.

9 Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

We are on a journey to enhance reporting processes and data quality. This has allowed us to establish a baseline in FY22 and begin the target-setting process, which will be integrated with the group’s three-year plan process in FY24.

In response to the growing global concern about the loss of biodiversity and the approach taken by the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, which is similar to that of the TCFD, the group will consider to include biodiversity (including animal welfare) as a focus area in future reporting. However, we will only do this once we have made significant progress in addressing our current environmental priorities.

To implement our environmental strategy and execute on the strategic framework, we established cross-group workstreams for energy, packaging, change and communications and waste. It is the responsibility of these working groups to drive initiatives and enhance reporting.

Focus areas include:

Energy & carbon

Transport & logistics

Responsible sourcing