PnP eyes 5 000 jobs a year through waste plan

“As much as a third of all the food produced for human consumption is wasted,” said Pick n Pay chairperson Gareth Ackerman. (Photo: Shutterstock)
“As much as a third of all the food produced for human consumption is wasted,” said Pick n Pay chairperson Gareth Ackerman. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Cape Town – Pick n Pay [JSE:PIK] has announced an ambitious “war on waste” campaign that will see the retailer focusing on food waste, energy inefficiency and the waste of human talent due to high unemployment levels.

The campaign was launched on Monday by Pick n Pay chairperson Gareth Ackerman and CEO Richard Brasher at the South African retailer’s annual general meeting.

Expect to hear more about “20, 20, 20 by 2020” as the retailer creates a clear strategy to achieve these goals. These will be to create 20 jobs every working day, reduce energy use per square metre by a further 20%, and reduce food waste going to landfill by 20%; all by 2020.

“As much as a third of all the food produced for human consumption is wasted,” said Ackerman. “Tackling food waste is a huge priority for South Africa, where a large percentage of our people still go hungry.”

Brasher said Pick n Pay already gave its surplus food to FoodBank SA, “which is still perfectly safe to eat”. As a result, he said the company is already contributing three million meals for hungry people each year and is saving almost 1 000 tonnes of food waste per year.

The company has already cut energy consumption per square metre by over 30% since 2008, saving over R60m per year. Additionally, it has created over 3 000 new jobs over the past year, many of them for young people who were previously unemployed.

“We can do more and we will do more,” said Brasher, elaborating on the three new goals for Pick n Pay:

- "Between now and 2020 we will cut our energy use per square metre by a further 20%, adding up to a 50% reduction since we began on this journey in 2008.  In terms of tackling climate change, and including our work on climate-friendly refrigeration, we will aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% per square metre by 2020.

- "We will create 20 new jobs in South Africa every working day, and target many of these jobs to young people who have the desire and aptitude to work for Pick n Pay.  This will add up to around 5000 new jobs per year as we expand our ability to serve customers across the country.

- "We will cut the food waste we send to landfill by 20% by 2020.  In addition to deepening our partnership with FoodBank, we will find new ways to make productive use of food waste.  And as our business becomes more efficient and effective we will reduce the amount of food waste we produce in the first place.” 


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