Why are relationships important?

We are committed to understanding and responding to the interests and expectations of our stakeholders to create authentic shared value for all. Managing relationships is one of our core competencies and our sustainability pledge explains our approach to this.

Relationships, especially with retailers, are entrenched in the voluntary trading model. Our relationships have, more recently, been guided and formalised through the reporting requirements of the <IR> Framework, Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) and the King IV Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa 2016™, while also being addressed through our SPAR Code of Ethics.

Our stakeholders are 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 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.

Material stakeholders addressed in this report:

Click to see detail per relationship (on the next page)

Other important stakeholders include our shareholders, government bodies and funders. We engage with them on a continuous basis through formal and informal channels, and on topics that are relevant at the time. Stakeholder engagement is often project based, for example through the emerging farmer hubs or through efforts to reduce the use of plastic.

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

Stakeholder engagement is governed on a group level by the Social and Ethics Committee, which monitors the integration of a stakeholder-inclusive model throughout SPAR’s governance structures and processes.

The new South African supermarket strategy, for example, creates stakeholder value by ensuring that:

  • all SPAR stakeholders benefit from being part of the SPAR family;
  • the interests of all stakeholders are well balanced for the entire system to be sustainable; and
  • value refers to the broad range of benefits that SPAR delivers to stakeholders (including financial returns, and empowerment opportunities, among others).

In the following 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 2018 financial 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 IV™ principles where relevant.