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Minimizing the business impact on the natural environment: A case study of Woolworths South Africa

Maria A.O. Dos Santos (University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the sustainable business practices of Woolworths, a major South African retail chain.


A content analysis of Woolworths' comprehensive 2008 and 2009 annual reports and press releases was done in order to identify and describe the different sustainable business practices of Woolworths itself. Contact was established with the Good Business Journey Manager of Woolworths when issues in the publications needed further clarification.


Sustainable business practices are often regarded as a statutory expense in order to meet government legalisation requirements. This case study demonstrates that a business can voluntarily decide to be sustainable and it can use this approach to drive innovation, build its brand image and increase efficiencies and cost savings within the business.

Research limitations/implications

Businesses can be sustainable even in developing countries.

Practical implications

Business can implement sustainable business practices, save money and still make a profit.


The paper highlights the sustainable business practices undertaken by a major South African retail chain.



Dos Santos, M.A.O. (2011), "Minimizing the business impact on the natural environment: A case study of Woolworths South Africa", European Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 384-391.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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