Moving to carbon neutral: SPAR South Africa’s strong sustainability strategy

April 20, 2021 IN THE CATEGORY: Responsible retailing

At SPAR, we are continuously looking to integrate sustainable solutions in our operations, with partners exploring ways to minimise CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and waste. SPAR South Africa is moving towards becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2050, thanks to its strong sustainability strategy.

Sustainability goals

The future of the SPAR organisation and the communities that we serve are intertwined. SPAR South Africa’s sustainability tagline, ‘My SPAR, Our Tomorrow’ is a public commitment to the future of the SPAR Brand and our planet.

SPAR South Africa’s sustainability strategy focuses on six key areas: health, community, supply chain, sourcing, environment, and people. This approach is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the South African government’s National Development Plan (NDP).

As SPAR South Africa grows, the organisation wants to reduce its overall impact and contribute to social and natural ecosystems’ wellbeing. SPAR South Africa has the goal of becoming a more climate resilient group by reducing carbon and water footprints and becoming a carbon neutral organisation.

Plastics Pact

SPAR is one of the founding members of the South African Plastics Pact. The Pact aims to create a circular economy that drives investment in infrastructure, supports livelihoods and keeps our environment free of plastic pollution.

The Plastics Pact was developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA), in partnership with the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and the UK’s WRAP. In this way, South Africa joins other countries such as France, the UK, and the Netherlands in the exchange of knowledge on the transition to a circular economy for plastic.

Electricity from renewable sources

SPAR South Africa is committed to sourcing all electricity from renewable sources. Over the past few years, SPAR has invested in energy efficiency and solar photovoltaic initiatives to reduce energy consumption and energy costs while mitigating the risk of load shedding.

In many areas, local municipality infrastructure is constantly under pressure with solar power assisting in relieving the burden. The solar plant project at SPAR South Africa’s distribution centres (DCs) offers a prime example of the successful incorporation of sustainable, energy-efficient technologies.

Rural hubs

SPAR’s commitment to the development of small-scale rural farmers was recognised in 2020 with the ABSA Business Day Supplier Development award. The prize acknowledges businesses that stand out as overall leaders in developing suppliers.

SPAR started the journey with small-scale farmers in 2016 with the establishment of the first rural hub in Mopani, Limpopo. The decision to develop and invest in rural hubs was based on the belief that small-scale rural farmers are the key to new and sustainable supply chains in South Africa.

SPAR South Africa’s CEO, Brett Botten, commented: “SPAR has developed a successful rural hub based in Limpopo, where 15 farmers, including three women, sell produce to the group. It’s a very positive venture for us.”

SPAR South Africa’s 2020 environment and social supplementary report can be read in full here.

Source: SPAR South Africa

Read more about SPAR in South Africa

About SPAR South Africa

SPAR South Africa was established in 1963 and operates four retail formats: SPAR, SPAR Express (operated in conjunction with Shell as a petrol forecourt store), KWIKSPAR (which focuses on convenience in city centres and high footfall locations) and SUPERSPAR (similar to EUROSPAR in offer).

South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to join the SPAR organisation. The SPAR Group Ltd South Africa grants sub-licences to independent retailers to operate stores under one of the four formats, with almost all of the current store portfolio being independently owned.