As a responsible corporate citizen, we need to contribute to meeting the economic and societal needs of the communities where we operate.


WHL endeavours to create lasting positive social impacts that matter to communities and local stakeholders but also position the Group as a responsible and caring corporate citizen. The Inclusive Justice Initiative (IJI) ethos of ‘Inspiring inclusive growth for all our people’ informs how the Group shows up in the community and our strategy and approach to social development.

WHL acknowledges the positive role and impact the Group can have in the social development agenda of the countries where we operate. We believe developing relationships with the communities and stakeholders in our operational footprint is vital to business success.

We are committed to help build thriving communities by actively investing in social development programmes:

  • Aligned with our social development strategic pillars and the IJI ethos
  • Where the primary driver of the investment is sustainable long-term social development
  • That are acts of empowerment, not charity, enabling inclusive participation in the mainstream economy

Our social development strategy has four pillars that are informed by the UN SDGs, and aligns to our overall business strategy. They are also relevant to the national development priorities and key social issues in the markets where we operate.


    Education is a national priority in many countries where we operate. In addition, we can only grow and sustain long-term profit in an inclusive, equitable, growing economy that has a sufficiently skilled society and educated workforce.

    Millions of people worldwide are food insecure, yet an estimated 30 per cent of food produced globally goes to waste. As a food retailer, we recognise that we have a role to play in working towards a food-secure future for all.

    Assisting our communities in the face of national disasters such as fires and floods demonstrates our commitment to supporting our local communities.


    A thriving and healthy community and workforce are crucial to the success of our business.

We encourage employee involvement in the Group’s social development activities. It enables our employees to make a difference in their communities and environment while enhancing our Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

Customers are also engaged in our social development activities through cause-related marketing, and for Woolworths, our customer loyalty programme, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet.

Both employee and customer involvement enables the extension of the Group’s social development reach.


The world’s complex challenges require deep insights and a collective effort to make a difference. As such, the Group’s approach to social development is based on meaningful collaboration and partnerships that build capacity and develop supportive networks within our communities.

Our approach is tailored to the various countries where we operate. They have different social contexts and, therefore, require customised approaches to making meaningful contributions to the communities we impact.

The Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Policy guides, and the Woolworths Trust (Trust) governs Woolworths’ social development activities. Established in 2003, the Trust, a legal entity managed by a Board of Trustees, reports on its activities to the WHL Board Social and Ethics Committee.

The CSI Policy mandates that we assess potential programmes or initiatives with the drivers and risks of long-term sustainability in mind. Multi-year interventions are preferred above ad hoc or once-off projects, and we consider the relevance, scalability and potential for future expansion.

The CSI Policy also outlines how to distribute the Trust’s funds. The bulk is allocated to several flagship projects, which receive a three- to five-year commitment. The remaining funds are allocated towards matching funds for employee-nominated charities or smaller projects or initiatives determined at the Trust or Directors’ discretion.

In principle, Woolworths will not provide funding for programmes or initiatives aimed at:

  • Political, religious, sport, recreation or cultural intent
  • Endowment funds
  • Individual bursaries or scholarships
  • Individuals who are looking for donations or sponsorship

Country Road Group brands manage their own strategic partners, relationships and campaigns, focusing on community resilience, particularly physical and mental health and wellness.



More information on the focus area and our performance thereon can be found in our annual Good Business Journey Report


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