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Sustainability Starts Here!

Responsible Consumption & Production


Thanks to our partnership with Tetra Pak, we were the first dairy in South Africa to introduce closures that are partly made from bio-based material.

By making this small change on our pack, we’re playing our part in preserving our environment.

Our closures are partly made from sugarcane which is a renewable resource that can be sustainably planted and harvested. This reduces over-reliance of fossil-based alternatives that put pressure on the earth’s finite resources.

Layers of our milk cartons are made from plant-based material sourced from FSC forests and sustainably grown sugarcane. Through this we have increased the plant-based content of our packaging to more than 80%.


Responsibly sourced paperboard is combined with aluminium foil and polyethylene to make our state-of-the-art packaging. This multi-layered approach means that our packaging protects against oxygen and light to maintain the nutritional value of our products, keeping our sensitive dairy products safe.

The FSC logo signifies that the paperboard material used comes from responsibly managed forests and other controlled resources, which is environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable. Further, the forests that we source from are continuously growing as new trees replace the ones that are harvested.

Our hard work and commitment to making our business and environment more sustainable for all, led us to change our packaging and in 2019 we opted for bio-based closures and packaging. This means that our closure and the polyethylene film used in our cartons are created using a renewable resource–sugar cane. When combined with the paper board this brings the renewability content of the pack to more than 80%. By increasing the renewability content of our packs we have successfully reduced the carbon footprint of our package by 15% compared to the previous packaging format. When renewability goes up, our carbon footprint goes down!

But it’s more than just closures and accreditations that make our packs unique.


Sustainable dairy farming is of the utmost importance to Woodlands Dairy because the farm is where the production of milk begins and the belief that the pursuit of business success should be in balance with making the world a better place.

We have implemented the Woodlands Dairy Sustainability Project in partnership with Trace & Save. This project aims to assist all of Woodlands Dairy’s milk producers to become more economically sustainable amongst other things.

The milk in our cartons is sourced from farms that have implemented strict sustainable farming methods.
80% of our producing partners are sustainable farmers, who with our assistance, have reduced their environmental impact and conducted socially responsible practices, which they have implemented on their farms.

Next time you pick up a First Choice milk pack, you’re not just picking up a box because it’s more than just a box. It’s a way to create a meaningful impact on the environment.

Clean water & sanitation


Early in 2017 we implemented our own on-site wastewater treatment plant.

Our resource recovery plant decreases our impact on local water resources by reducing our intake of municipal water by over 37%, thereby ensuring greater water security for other residents in the area.

Reverse osmosis is used to purify the water for washing in the factory. Approximately 60% of water used in the plant is recycled.

The sludge from the plant is then taken to the farm to be used as fertiliser.


Decent work & Economic Growth


In 2013 we identified an opportunity in our business processes that would allow us to support and develop local entrepreneurs.

Because our staff members a required to attend work in clean overalls daily, Woodlands Dairy played a contributing part in helping two locals launch their laundry service (One Time Laundry) by purchasing equipment and premises that would allow them to clean and deliver tidy overalls to our plant.

We purchase our milk from regional milk producers. By making use of regional milk producers, we’re able to provide a platform for local dairy farms to expand their operations. By doing so, we’ve helped the Eastern Cape become the largest milk supply source in South Africa.

We also launched our Umthombo Enterprise Development Initiative which provides a platform to create economic and social growth opportunities for women in the Nelson Mandela Bay townships.

Affordable & Clean Energy


We are committed to becoming a good energy consumer, which is why over the last 7 years, we’ve implemented and driven large and small-scale initiatives that have significantly decreased our carbon footprint and reduced our consumption of steam and electricity.

In 2016, we implemented a biomass boiler which uses wood chips that are composed of leftovers wood material. The boiler is a sustainable fuel source and is a low carbon heating system.

Using the boiler allows us not to produce carbon dioxide emissions that harm the environment.

A total reduction of Co2 per 1000 litres of product produced over the past 7 years amounts to 71.7%.

No Poverty


Poverty has many dimensions, but its causes include unemployment. At Woodlands Dairy, not only do we employ approximately 1400 people, who in turn stimulate the local economy but we also make use of locally sourced suppliers around the Eastern Cape region.

Our Umthombo Enterprise Development Initiative ensures growth and prosperity for all, based on people, product, processes, sustainability and the environment. Eleven businesses and 132 community members are benefiting from the initiative.

Zero Hunger


In line with UN’s aim to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

We support five feeding schemes in the local area, focusing on the youth & the elderly. We also fund various community projects in the Kouga area. The 23 projects range from supporting soup kitchens with monthly groceries, maintaining a pre-primary school built by the company and its partners, as well as purchasing craft machinery, supplies for the elderly and many more.

Sustainable Cities & Communities


As part of our drive to educate both employees and the community The Clean-Up Your Hood for Good initiative was launched to create an ongoing awareness of pollution and recycling in the local community as well preserving our resources.

By 2019 we had installed 49 waste bins in the Humansdorp and Jeffery’s area. In 2020 an additional 20 bins had been installed and we will continue to roll out this initiative in the region.

Creative waste management strategies play a crucial role in helping cities and communities to reduce their waste-footprint and their environmental impact. Packaging waste is part of the manufacturing process at Woodlands Dairy and in 2019 recyclable waste amounting to 750 tons was generated from the plant. All of this waste was recycled through the Waste Trade Company. Recycling stations were also implemented all over the Woodlands Dairy facility.

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Find out how Woodlands Dairy has been working towards a more sustainable future since 2012. #NewNorm