Having begun its organic journey almost a decade ago, Woolworths now offers South African consumers the widest range of certified organic products from pasta and peanut butter to t-shirts and towels. With the introduction of over 100 new organic grocery lines earlier this year and the recent harvest of South Africa’s first organic cotton crop, the retailer has further entrenched its position as the country’s leading retailer of organics and made it easier than ever for shoppers to lead a comprehensive organic lifestyle. Organics is one of the focus areas for Woolworths Good business journey, the organisation’s on-going plan to change the way it does business in order to make a difference in its communities, its country and the world. Woolworths announced last year that it had set goals for 2012 of achieving organic food sales of some R1 billion per year and increasing sales of organic cotton to that same level within 5 years. Woolworths began its organic cotton journey in 2004 and has steadily increased its use of organically grown cotton over the past four years. Today, Woolworths offers a comprehensive collection of organic cotton products in kids’, men’s and women’s outerwear and sleepwear, baby clothing, towels and bedding. Woolworths’ commitment to organic cotton is further evidenced by the fact that it is now the world’s third largest consumer of organic cotton behind international giants Nike and Wal-Mart, and has been instrumental in setting up South Africa’s first commercial-scale organic cotton pilot programme with a view to establishing a local pipeline for organic cotton. The first crop was successfully harvested in May. Plans are to extend the planting in the next season to additional farms including a number of smaller farms owned by previously disadvantaged farmers. Organic cotton also offers exciting opportunities as a rotational crop for farmers who currently supply organic fruit and vegetables to Woolworths. Woolworths is also the first South African retailer to offer organic wool and has introduced men’s formal trousers made from organic wool. In February this year the retailer launched over 100 new organic grocery lines which cater for both basic grocery needs and the more specialised tastes of the contemporary cook. The range includes jams, pastas and pasta sauces, rice, condiments, oils, beans, breakfast cereals, biscuits, teas, coffees, juices, nuts, chocolates and more. Like all Woolworths organic products, all the new groceries are certified by independent organic certifiers who conduct stringent audits to ensure the authenticity of both organic ingredients and organic production processes. The retailer is celebrating its organic offering in stores from 23 July – 17 August. ENDS ___________________________________________________________ NOTES FOR THE EDITOR •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. •The announcement that Woolworths is the world’s third largest consumer of organic cotton was made at the 5th annual Organic Exchange Conference, held in Monterey, California, in November. •The organic cotton pilot programme is being run in association with ComMark, Cotton SA and the Organic Exchange as well as the Agricultural Research Council’s Institute for Industrial Crops.