Woolworths reveals its supply chain sources - and China dominates the list

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  • None of Woolworths' Country Road and David Jones merchandise is sourced locally or from elsewhere on the continent.
  • Woolworths has previously faced fire from Palestine-aligned activists due to its food imports from Israel.
  • Factories from China dominate the list of suppliers for Woolworths merchandise.

Woolworths - which has previously faced public protests over its Israeli imports - has disclosed its goods supply sources across its retail divisions as part of its transparent and traceable supply chain, it was announced on Monday.

The company - which in 2014 came under fire from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions SA (BDS SA) over its imports of food stuff from Israel - has published a list of suppliers that manufacture its fashion, beauty and home products.

"The publishing of Woolworths' fashion, beauty and home products suppliers is an important step in our supply chain transparency journey. This is an evolving space, and we will continue to enhance our disclosures over time," the company said.

According to Woolworths, its food business already has "full traceability" and is fully committed to Woolworths’ supply chain transparency commitments.

In 2014, Woolworths faced protests from the Palestine-aligned BDS SA over its food imports from Israel, which led to a #boycottwoolworths campaign.

At the time, Woolworths said it only imported Pretzels, figs and pomegranates from Israel. 

On Monday, Woolworths' head of sourcing, Lawrence Pillay, said the company's product suppliers were "subjected to ongoing social and ethical audits that are aimed at setting global best practice benchmarks when it comes to caring for people and the planet".

The list also features the suppliers of Country Road Group and David Jones.

"Publishing this list including suppliers' names, locations and number of employees is a vital step towards a fashion industry that is environmentally sustainable, accountable and fair," said Pillay.

"By making this list of suppliers transparent, we are now empowering Woolies’ customers to make informed and better choices."

The information provided on the company's supplier page shows that the bulk of the factories where it sources its fashion, beauty and home merchandise are mostly located in China. A few other suppliers are also found in South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Pakistan, Eswatini and Madagascar, among other countries.

None of the David Jones and Country Road merchandise is sourced locally or from elsewhere on the continent.

Woolworths Vision 2025 goals ensures that all private label fashion and home products are designed to be reused, repaired, repurposed or recycled by 2025. It also aims to ensure that all its energy comes from renewable sources by 2030, and that the company achieves net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

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