Loving Water – possible?

WOOLWORTHS AND MYSCHOOL LAUNCH WATER FUND FOR SCHOOLS

28 March 2018

In response to the National Government’s declaration that the drought in South Africa is a national disaster, Woolworths has announced a R1.5 million investment in water infrastructure for schools, and the launch of an ongoing MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fund, the LOVEH2O WATER FUND.

Many schools across the country are adversely affected by poor access to water and frequent water cuts. Due to hygiene issues, schools close during water cuts, repeatedly disrupting the education of scores of South African learners. Over the past three years, the country has been locked in the worst drought in its history, with the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape bearing the brunt. Woolworths’ R1.5 million starter funding of the LOVEH2O WATER FUND will be committed to installing water tanks for rainwater harvesting and storage at schools in these provinces.

The LOVEH2O WATER FUND will enable consumers, who are MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet supporters concerned about water conservation and education, to be part of an initiative that improves water security in drought-stricken and under-resourced communities.

Rainwater harvesting from roofs is a highly effective strategy for improved water management and reducing pressure on municipal water supplies. The water can be safely used for washing hands and flushing toilets, which are the two main reasons that schools close and send children home when there are water cuts. In addition, this supply of rainwater can be used to irrigate food gardens so that, even in times of drought, schools can still produce vegetables and fruit to supplement their feeding schemes with fresh, healthy foods.

Water-wise South Africans can join Woolworths by signing up for the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet Programme and nominating the LOVEH2O WATER FUND as one of their three beneficiaries. Every time a supporter shops at Woolworths or other partner retailers, they have their free card swiped at till points or online checkouts and a percentage is donated to the LOVEH2O WATER FUND by the retailer, at no cost to the customer. In this way, the LOVEH2O WATER FUND aims to raise ongoing funds so that more and more South African schools have a sustainable source of water thanks to the installation of water-saving and water-harvesting infrastructure such as rain water tanks.

To be part of what matters to you most, visit www.myschool.co.za and sign up for free as a supporter or download the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet App and get started immediately. You can nominate the LOVEH2O WATER FUND and another two schools, charities or conservation causes as your beneficiaries. Every time your card is swiped at a point of purchase in a Woolworths store or at any other partner store, the participating retailer makes a contribution to your beneficiaries at no cost to you.

EDITOR’S NOTES:

About MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet:

The MySchoolMyVillageMyPlanet loyalty programme is one of South Africa’s biggest community fundraising initiatives and multi-partner loyalty programme. It raises essential funds for schools, charities, community organisations, animal welfare- and environmental organisations through an easy system that doesn’t cost supporters a cent. Simply sign up for a free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card, swipe when you shop at a retail partner stores, and they will give back a percentage of your purchases, on your behalf, to the beneficiary of your choice. The system allows cardholders to make a difference to a worthy cause that they care about without it costing them a cent. The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme raises more than R6 million per month, thanks to its supporters.

How does MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet work?

1.2 Million South Africans carry MySchool cards. Supporters apply for a free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card via the MySchool App or on www.myschool.co.za and can select up to 3 schools and/or charities as their beneficiary/ies. When they purchase items from participating retailers they swipe the card with the purchase. A small percentage of their transaction is then allocated to their beneficiary school or charity. The partner stores pay the donation on behalf of the cardholder. All these transactions are recorded and a statement is sent to individual supporters on a monthly basis. The supporter card is not a credit or debit card but simply tracks transactions and funds raised.

MyVillage and MyPlanet

While originally the MySchool programme was exclusive to schools and only schools could sign up as beneficiaries, the programme has been extended to include charitable organisations and other worthy causes. MyVillage organisations are charities that care for people; MyPlanet organisations care for animals and the planet.

Getting a card

In order to become a supporter, simply get a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card for free and select the schools or charities you wish to support. You can register online at www.myschool.co.za, call 0860 100 445, download the MySchool App or get a card at your local Woolworths store. It’s quick and easy.

About Woolworths and water:

Water conservation is a key focus for Woolworths’ Good Business Journey and over the years Woolworths has supported and invested in a number of water conservation initiatives across its own business, suppliers and schools.

Own operations:

  • Woolworths was among 10% of companies participating in the CDP’s (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) water programme and features on the Water A List. This is comprised of 73 global companies which are recognised for their transparency and their actions in the last reporting year to manage water more sustainably.
  • Woolworths has installed real-time electronic water metering at most stores across South Africa to improve water measurement and monitoring.
  • Before opening a new store, the design of the property is carefully considered to ensure it uses water efficiently. As much water as possible is kept on site for re-use via recycled and grey water systems. Rain water is used for irrigation where possible. Woolworths has achieved a massive 56% decrease in relative water usage in stores since 2007.
  • Woolworths Head office invested in its own water treatment plant and uses a previously unutilised underground water supply, saving the local municipality almost 17.5 million litres of water every year.
  • Rainwater harvesting and re-use systems have been installed at distribution centres for activities like tray and floor washing as well as toilet flushing.

Supplier programmes:

  • Through engagement programmes such as the Farming for the Future initiative, Woolworths measures the amount of water used by suppliers, and is helping farmers reduce water wastage and water pollution. The programme encourages farmers to improve soil quality thereby increasing water retention, promoting efficient irrigation techniques and to use pesticides and fertilisers minimally, improving the quality of wastewater from farms.
  • Together with WWF-South Africa and Marks & Spencer, Woolworths has implemented a water stewardship project in the Breede catchment of the Western Cape, helping stone fruit farmers in that area implement projects that reduce collective risks related to water availability and quality.
  • Woolworths continues to support the removal of water-hungry invasive alien vegetation in the Ceres, Leeu and Riviersonderend river catchments. Alien plants use over 7% of South Africa’s water resources. Woolworths has invested in the WWF-SA Water Balance Programme for more than six years. The scheme, launched in association with the government’s Working for Water programme, has multiple objectives, including reducing the impact of invasive alien plants on water supplies, restoring biodiversity and functioning ecosystems as well as creating jobs and economic empowerment.
  • As part of its transformational partnership with WWF-SA, Woolworths has completed life cycle assessments (LCA’s) of key products including, milk, beef and t-shirts to identify water usage and impacts across the value chain, and prioritise improvements.
  • All of the fabric suppliers for Woolworths’ clothing adhere to very strict standards when it comes to dyes, materials and chemicals to ensure they don’t pose a water pollution risk.

Schools:

Woolworths is also engages with school learners through the Woolworths Education Programme, which supports water awareness through the provision of curriculum-based learning content and donation of over 100 water tanks to under-resourced schools through an annual schools competition and their sponsorship of Food & Tree’s for Africa’s flagship EduPlant food gardening programme .

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF WOOLWORTHS

CONTACT:       DIANE PETERSON

CELL:               083 395 3566

EMAIL: dianepeterson@woolworths.co.za