Introduction to Our material relationships

We are committed to understanding and responding to the interests and expectations of our stakeholders to be able to create authentic shared value for all.

The ability to manage relationships is one of our core competencies and our sustainability pledge explains our approach.

Relationships, especially with retailers, are entrenched in the voluntary trading model, and have, more recently, been guided and formalised through the reporting requirements of the <IR> Framework, Global Reporting Initiative and King IVTM, while also being addressed through our SPAR Code of Ethics.

We apply the definition of stakeholders as those groups or individuals that can reasonably be expected to be significantly affected by our business activities, outputs or outcomes, or whose actions can reasonably be expected to significantly affect SPAR’s ability to create value over time.

The identification of our stakeholders has evolved through our operations and relationships since the establishment of SPAR in South Africa in 1963. We revisit our set of stakeholders annually, as the core stakeholders remain stable, but we recognise that other relationships become material for shorter periods of time based on emerging issues.

Our interaction with the Competition Commission in the past year is a good example of a relationship that has become material for this period due to the demands on resources and potential financial impact on the business. However, we do not expect this to remain a material relationship over time.

Our stakeholder universe includes secondary relationships such as those with retailers’ employees, the SPAR International structure and service providers such as product developers, researchers, consultants and auditors.

In the following five sections, we explain who our material stakeholders are, how we engage with them and how we create authentic shared value. We use examples of initiatives undertaken and events participated in during the past year to illustrate how we address and interact with our material stakeholders regarding their legitimate and reasonable needs, interests and expectations. We highlight those strategic risks that relate to material stakeholders, and provide references to the King IVTM principles where relevant.