Woolworths is well known for its colourful reusable shopping bags. But there's more to the story than you might think. These bags are not merely helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste that goes to landfill; they're also helping a small Cape Town BEE company called Isikhwama to flourish. As part of its Good business journey, Woolworths is committed to socio-economic transformation and social development in South Africa. Isikhwama, which employs semi-skilled and unskilled people who were previously out of work, is one of the small enterprises to benefit from its partnership with Woolies. In fact, the company was started back in 2004 in order to produce bags for Woolworths and to provide employment for some of the people who lost jobs when many of Cape Town¡¦s clothing factories closed their doors. Today, the company, which is 25% owned by two women who are also production supervisors, employs some 80 to 85 people and produces 20 000 to 30 000 bags for Woolworths every week. As part of its enterprise development programme, Woolworths assists Isikhwama¡¦s cash flow through procuring the fabric, assists with the purchase or upgrade of equipment through providing loans, and offers preferential payment terms. For Woolworths this is not a profit-generating initiative ¡V the focus is on creating jobs and helping to establish a sound local South African business. These bags are also helping Woolworths to raise awareness of some of its Good business journey initiatives. A bright blue and green bag currently in store promotes Woolworths Fishing for the Future, the sustainable seafood initiative along with SASSI (the WWF program for sustainable seafood) fish SMS line and it has recently been joined by a yellow and green bag devoted to Woolworths sustainable farming programme, Farming for the Future. And with all South Africa focused on football, Woolworths and Isikhwama have also just introduced a range of four soccer-themed bags, which not only come in handy for carrying groceries, they¡¦re also charming souvenirs or gifts for overseas visitors. ENDS _______________________________________________________________ NOTES FOR THE EDITOR „X Woolworths Good business journey Woolworths Good business journey is a comprehensive 5-year plan announced in April 2007 to help people and planet. It incorporates a series of challenging targets and commitments centred on four key priorities: accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing Woolworths¡¦ environmental focus and addressing climate change. „X Woolworths and transformation The transformation pillar of Woolworths Good business journey embraces the dti¡¦s broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) scorecard framework. This includes equity ownership, management control, employment equity, skills development, preferential procurement, enterprise development and socio-economic development. Enterprise development projects are defined as small existing or start-up businesses, cooperatives or other enterprises. Woolworths contributes to their future sustainable growth by supporting, mentoring and procuring their products and services. _______________________________________________________________ Issued on behalf of: Woolworths Issued by: liquidlingo Communications Contact: Bazukise Marasha +27 21 424 1530 bazukise@liquidlingo.co.za