Steinhoff is focused on managing the long-term sustainability of the group’s businesses and business practices


  • Quick facts*

    • R134.9 billion
      Total group revenue
    • 90 000
    • 278 000t
  • Quick facts*

    • 6 500
      Retail stores
    • 4 million m2
      properties owned
Steinhoff adheres to values of trust, respect, commitment and loyalty. The group aims to create an environment where employees, customers and business partners are encouraged to contribute towards responsible business practices with long-term sustainable benefits.
Respect for stakeholders and the environment
Enhance reputation as an ethical, profitable and responsible brand
Material issue
To manage the risks that threaten its ability to provide sustainable long-term benefits to stakeholders

Steinhoff's business model is based on its long-term strategy, which defines key business drivers that assist in maintaining the group's focus on implementing its strategy and achieving sustainable results. To date, this has proved successful in growing the business under sometimes volatile and uncertain economic and political conditions globally.

This approach continues to create value for stakeholders and is at the core of the group's sustainability efforts.

The diversity of the group's businesses and its geographical footprint influence how materiality of sustainability aspects is determined and addressed. There are many issues across the group that could be material to certain divisions but not to others, or to the group as a whole. Decisions around materiality are therefore made at divisional level and are based on the potential impact of risks and opportunities and the possible effect on stakeholders in that division.

South Africa's transformational needs drive Steinhoff's focus in terms of financial contribution towards social change. The group's environmental initiatives, on the other hand, are largely influenced by global trends. This has resulted in certain of the group's divisions being at the core of many of its sustainability initiatives, where the impact of or on the business would be more significant.

Group and divisional strategies are aligned and focused on:

  • maintaining a diverse geographical footprint and revenue streams;
  • strengthening the group's integrated supply chain;
  • promoting flexibility and balance in our supply arrangements; and
  • retaining reliable and efficient logistics services, growing the customer base and supporting group
    sustainability efforts.

South Africa's transformational needs are the core drivers of Steinhoff's focus in terms of the group's financial contribution towards social change. The group's environmental initiatives, on the other hand, are largely influenced by global trends.

Commitment to sustainable management and reporting

The corporate responsibility management structure comprises all business functions. A group policy provides clear accountability to the board, while the day-to-day responsibility to implement and manage sustainability programmes and initiatives sits firmly with divisional boards and their respective operational management teams.

As required by the South African Companies Act, 71 of 2008, as amended (the Companies Act), a social and ethics committee has been constituted as a board committee of which Dr Len Konar is the chairman. The committee focuses on social and ethical concerns and will continue:

  • addressing issues of sustainability;
  • providing strategic direction to the group on corporate responsibility matters, with input from the divisional management teams; and
  • reporting to the Steinhoff board as prescribed by the Companies Act.

This committee meets annually to review the status of the group's position regarding the elements of compliance contained within the requirements of the Companies Act and within Steinhoff's social and ethics committee charter. The committee reviews the implementation of various policies and best practices as described in the Companies Act, and as required by the group. These include amongst other the UN Global Compact’s principles on human rights, the International Labour Organisations recommendations, the principles of The Organisation of co-operation and development, timber sourcing under the EU Timber regulations etc.

Based on the level of detailed information required by certain stakeholders, such as the JSE, and their socially responsible index, Steinhoff will continue to publish comprehensive corporate governance and corporate responsibility information.

Each division is responsible for developing its own sustainability strategy and framework in line with the overall group strategy, while considering stakeholder needs and social and environmental obligations. With the group’s retail focus, sourcing and supply chain management receive a higher level of attention. To this end certain of the divisions are signatories to relevant initiatives and programme, or subscribe to international best practice frameworks. These include adherence to the EU Timber regulation (responsible timber sourcing), the CSI in France (aims to encourage their suppliers to comply with universal human rights principles) and Interseroh (reviews and advises on waste management practices and waste management suppliers).

Currently, Steinhoff has three main operational areas of focus, namely:

  • Retail: Household goods
  • Retail: General merchandise
  • Retail: Automotive

Driving sustainable policies and meeting targets

Steinhoff recognises that in order for the group to continue its success in attracting affordable capital, retaining a loyal workforce and sustainable customer base, Steinhoff needs to protect and enhance its reputation as an ethical, profitable and responsible brand.

Respect for stakeholders, employees and the environment, is a non-negotiable business principle throughout the group and management is confident that it has appropriate systems in place, not only to protect the brand and its businesses, but also to provide long-term benefits to various stakeholders.

Responsibility for the implementation of and compliance with policies lies with the chief executive officer/managing director of each division. These executives take responsibility for the communication of the group's policies to all employees in their respective divisions. However, it is the ultimate responsibility of each employee (and extended stakeholders) to observe Steinhoff's principles of honesty, integrity, commitment and trust and to act in accordance with all the laws and regulations relevant to that division and country of operation.

Various group policies and practice guidelines assist divisional management in managing appropriate behaviour. These are in place across the group and address aspects that include:

  • Anti-fraud and anti-corruption practices
  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Enterprise risk management
  • Ethical sourcing
  • Health and safety
  • HIV/Aids
  • Information technology
  • Labour regulations
  • Performance management and remuneration
  • Procurement and supplier management
  • Product quality and safety
  • Recruitment and selection and other employment related practices
  • Training and development
  • Transformation and equity in employment

Directives to achieve certain targets are endorsed at group level, set at divisional level and are applied and managed at operational level. These directives are driven by relevant committees and they are cascaded throughout the group, to a business unit level through established divisional committees. Data on sustainability forms part of divisional reporting structures and it is part of the group's annual internal reporting processes. Much of the data is also used for other reporting requirements, for example, statistics on employment equity are submitted to the Department of Labour in South Africa relating to African operations.

All data collected is used to further the group's understanding of its position and that of its subsidiaries and to assist in developing relevant targets and strategies where it will be appropriate, applicable and material.