Our reflections on the King IVTM outcomes


Ethical behaviour, in its simplest terms, is about knowing and doing what is right.

At SPAR, we strongly believe that we have an obligation to ourselves as individuals, our organisation, our community, society and our retailers that we develop a coherent ethical system.

The board endeavours to meet the highest ethical standards of business practice and acknowledges that ethics are the foundation of, and reason for, corporate governance. The board is responsible for ensuring that management actively cultivates a culture of ethical conduct and establishes the values we must uphold.

In order to steer and lead the business in an ethical manner, we have developed a SPAR Code of Ethics. We enjoy a values-based culture that has Passion, Entrepreneurship and Family as its core values and typically underpins the way we conduct business sustainably on a daily basis. Furthermore, SPAR adheres to all the applicable laws, rules, regulations and principles of good corporate governance in our respective territories. The unique blend of our values-based culture with a defined ethical framework provides a guideline for ethical business choices.

The board and the executive team, which includes those working at the distribution centres, endorsed and has committed to implementing the SPAR Code of Ethics as the basis for our decision-making and actions. This forms the basis of our ethical culture.

The SPAR Code of Ethics outlines SPAR’S values and how employees of SPAR are expected to conduct themselves, and approach and report situations. SPAR defines ethics as follows: ‘doing the right thing in the best long-term interests of all stakeholders, even when no one is watching’.

The SPAR Code of Ethics has been translated into Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa and Sesotho to facilitate broader access to and understanding of its content.

We believe that ethical business dealings and total honesty in all spheres of operations are essential to the long-term, sustainable success of SPAR’s business.

The code applies to all employees of SPAR. We have also developed a supplier code of conduct that has been approved by the Social and Ethics Committee and which we plan to roll out in future. Related initiatives include our sustainability survey of SPAR house brand suppliers as well as our commitment to the ethical sourcing of products.

SPAR has a whistleblowing facility that is actively promoted. Statistics and incidents are reported to the Social and Ethics Committee.

We undertake an ethics risk assessment every three years, with the next one scheduled for 2018.

Employees are required to report any perceived breaches of the code or any unethical behaviour through their management structures or the Whistleblowing Hotline. The Whistleblowing Hotline in an anonymous service run by Deloitte & Touche and is wholly independent of SPAR.

The full SPAR Code of Ethics is available here.

Although the membership agreement between the guilds, retailers and SPAR has an ethical element, there is scope to develop a retailer code of ethics. TOPS at SPAR belongs to the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA), the membership of which entails subscribing to a strict and comprehensive Code of Commercial Communication that includes stringent rules on advertising, packaging and promotions and media use, and which has been updated and expanded upon a number of occasions since its inception.