If we save, you save

by Anthony Dane

That’s the message in Shoprite‘s new TV advert around energy savings. The supermarket chain, Africa’s biggest retailer “for lower prices you can always trust”, says it is saving electricity wherever it can.

By switching off in-store lighting and installing the latest energy saving devices they have saved R37 million on electricity, enough to power 12,000 households for a year.

Their ‘we save, you save’ message is closely linked to their core business of saving customers money. In Incite’s opinion, this advert reflects Shoprite’s official movement into the Stay Afloat phase of our sustainability strategy positioning. They are now firmly focusing sustainability on cost savings and efficiency as opposed to just doing the basics of compliance around sustainability, a stage we call Risk getting Dumped.

Other South African supermarkets such as Woolworths position themselves in what we call the Surf the Waves stage of sustainability strategy where they are innovating with products and processes to create value, as opposed to just protecting it. The fourth and final stage of our sustainability strategy model is where companies Create the Waves. Walmart is a good example of a company creating small but disruptive waves through their supply chain initiatives.

Each stage is a valid sustainability strategy for a company; the key is to know where you are and to make conscious decisions that reflect your positioning. Saving or creating, we know that following a good sustainability strategy makes business sense.

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2 Responses to If we save, you save

  1. Anthony Dane says:

    It’s nice to see another food retailer looking to gain competitive advantage through being more sustainable. Competition leads to efficiency so I’m quite happy to see the big guys fight it out to see who can get the most out of sustainability!

    Seeing your comment about Walmart creating the waves reminded me of some research I did recently. I looked into the impacts of Walmart imposing sustainability standards on its suppliers- particularly on the fruit producing industry in South Africa.

    Suppliers saw no benefit in the short term and experienced significant costs.

    It is yet to be seen whether long term benefits associated with more sustainable practices will accrue to the prducers (of course I think they will). At this stage the suppliers aren’t happy about it.

    Improving sustainability in the supply chain is essential for large retailers but the implementation is difficult.

  2. Teri Kruger says:

    Let’s hope more companies get on board!

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