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Woolworths honours Woodlands Dairy

The Woolworths’ Farming for the Future (FFF) programme has announced that Woodlands Dairy, based in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape, is its 2021 Top Supplier of the Year. 

The dairy is the biggest employer in the rural Eastern Cape town, and is supplied by 69 farmers, mostly from the nearby Tsitsikamma area, who raise pasture-fed herds. 

Woodlands Dairy processes approximately 900 000 litres of milk per day with a summer peak of about 1.4 million litres a day. They currently supply Woolworths with ten different own-brand, long-life milk products. 

Initially launched to collaborate with Woolworths’ fresh vegetable, fruit and horticulture suppliers, FFF has expanded over the years to also include wine, long-life milk, fresh juice and frozen vegetables. 

The programme measures a range of impacts at farm and factory levels, and includes data points related to soil biology, water-use efficiency, crop protection, energy use, irrigation efficiency, water leakages and wastewater management. 

During the past year’s audit by Enviroscientific assessors, Woodlands Dairy scored 81 points out of 100, with the average supplier score being 64.8. 

It has been commended for exceeding expectations when it came to its FFF score improvement, its community involvement, the percentage of total footprint assessed, and its accuracy and detail and on time submissions of Action Plans. 

Kobus Pienaar, Woolworths’ FFF expert says, “This recognition of Woodlands Dairy as FFF’s latest Top Supplier of the Year acknowledges their long-term commitment to sustainability across their supply chain – from the pastures to their production facility. 

“When they joined FFF in 2018, they already had a sustainability mindset and certain measures in place, yet they have been enthusiastic in their efforts to keep raising the bar. Woodlands Dairy’s ongoing commitment to improvements have resulted in this achievement.” 

Over the years, Woodlands Dairy has, in turn, worked hand-in-hand with its own raw milk suppliers to improve environmental impacts on the farms. 

At the factory, it has tackled its energy use with a biomass boiler and supplementary solar panels, and it has its own waste-water management and rainwater harvesting infrastructure to reduce water usage and avoid water pollution. 

The dairy supports a range of community upliftment projects by focusing on the improvement of health and education in the Kouga area. 

Woodlands Dairy CEO Lex Gutsche says, “We’re delighted by this acknowledgement from the Woolworths Farming for the Future programme as sustainability is one of our core values. 

“We started the dairy in 1995 with a commitment to being a business that does the right thing, and we value opportunities for constant improvement, which is helped by the science-based approach of the programme. We appreciate how Woolworths works closely together with their suppliers for the greater good of planet and people.”

Caption for pic above: The Woolworths’ team handing over its Farming for the Future Supplier of the Year award to Woodlands Dairy
From L-R: Christelle Van Zyl (Woolworths Foods), Alison Pohl (Woolworths Foods), Lex Gutsche (Woodlands Dairy) and Rahim Hoosen (Woolworths Foods).

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