Online Annual Report 2009

Sustainable development beliefs

Sustainable development can become an empty promise if it is not underpinned by a framework of shared beliefs. These are some of the beliefs that drive sustainable development in our business:

Stakeholder engagement

Broad-based black economic empowerment

  We recognise that it is important to engage with and promote dialogue and understanding between Massmart and anyone who is impacted by our activities. To this end we work hard to understand stakeholder priorities and respond constructively to achieve mutual commitment to positive and beneficial action.   Todayís South Africans are citizens of a young democracy and every one deserves a dignified and prosperous life. We know that meeting this expectation is not only morally right, but also commercially prudent. We have therefore aligned our efforts to the Department of Trade and Industryís BBBEE Code of Good Practice to ensure that we contribute to a sustainable and equitable society.

Human capital

Climate change and environment

  Our employees are provided with the opportunity to earn competitive rewards and develop their talents in a very commercially orientated work environment where emphasis is placed on respect for individual rights. We have a demanding work ethic and our employees are cognisant of the level of performance required for their own and the Groupís continued success.   Massmart acknowledges that the climate is changing and that part of this change can be attributed to human activities. We recognise that our operations and the products we sell have the potential to contribute to climate change and that we have a responsibility to minimise our own impacts, to adapt to the risks of climate change upon our business and to provide consumers with responsible merchandise choices that limit their impacts.

Ethical supply chain

African operations

  This area will be discussed in detail in the 2010 report. Watch this space!   Massmart is a South African-based African group that aspires to integrate seamlessly into the societies of all the countries in which we operate by contributing meaningfully to economic and retail development, complying fully with local legislation, responding empathetically to cultural mores, and participating actively in social institutions.
  Massmart recognises that unethical practice in our supply chain by either ourselves or our suppliers has the potential to damage our brands, undermine stakeholder trust and tarnish the Groupís reputation. We will endevour through advocacy activities and by implementing additional sourcing controls to promote sustainable production and distribution by suppliers and responsible consumerism by our customers.  

Corporate social investment

  There are commentators who believe that it is enough for business to pay taxes, and that social upliftment is a distraction from business that should be the responsibility of the state. We disagree! It is clear to us that it requires the combined resources and expertise of both the private and public sector to overcome the social impoverishment caused by South Africaís apartheid legacy.