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Woolworths Teams Up with Pharrell Williams, Asks South Africa ‘Are You with Us?’ on Sustainability

Woolworths CEO Ian Moir announced a partnership with Grammy Award-winning musician, record producer and philanthropist Pharrell Williams last week. The collaboration is the first of its kind for a South African retailer.

Williams will become the new Style Director in a groundbreaking collaboration across a series of sustainability-focused projects. The strategic partnership is grounded in the shared values of Williams and Woolworths.

“Pharrell is a global icon for social cohesion, advancement through education and environmental awareness – these same values lie at the heart of our business and form the foundation on which this partnership is built. We hope Pharrell will help us make sustainability cool for the next generation of South Africans and help us create a better future for our children, our country and our planet,” Moir said.

The Woolworths Good Business Journey (GBJ) is the driving force behind the partnership. Launched in 2007, Woolies’ GBJ is a commitment to ethical trade, sustainable farming and production methods, and social responsibility. The call-to-action for the collaboration is “Are you with us?” and it asks customers to pledge their allegiance and support for the Woolworths Good Business Journey.

Customers can show their support in one of four ways:

1) CREATE WITH US: Sustainable T-shirt Design Competition

Woolies has collaborated with Williams’ company Bionic Yarn, which creates fabric out of recycled plastic waste (and last year launched similar partnerships with adidas and G-Star Raw), to create a range of limited edition t-shirts. Design students are invited to create and submit designs for these t-shirts that celebrate sustainability. Williams will select his favorite designs and these will be produced and sold in Woolies stores across the country. Winners will each receive R25,000 (US$2070) in prize money.

2) GIVE WITH US: Raising over R100 million for education

Pharrell and MySchool will be calling on customers to help us raise R100 million (~$83,000) for schools in need across South Africa through swiping their MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cards - more swipes mean more donations. Signing up for a card is easy and free – and customers can choose which schools benefit.

3) SING WITH US: Share the stage with Pharrell

A school choir competition affords the winning choir the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform live alongside Williams in front of the whole country during his MySchool concert tour of South Africa. Entrants will be shortlisted and chosen personally by the singer to appear alongside him on stage in September as part of an exclusive concert for WRewards Members only.

4) WIN WITH US: See Pharrell live at a private concert

Customers can sign up for a Woolies’ WRewards or MySchool card any time. Members can also win a ticket to a members-only, private Pharrell Williams concert. The only way to get a ticket to this one-night-only event is to be a Woolies WRewards / MySchool / Credit cardholder.

“We’re on a mission to change the world. To make a difference wherever we can,” Williams said when announcing the partnership. “Earlier this year at Davos, we announced the launch of ‘Harmonising Humanity’ to call together everyone around the world who believes that a better tomorrow is possible when we all do our part. For those who believe in clean lakes, rivers and oceans; who care where their products come from; and who are giving to make sure every kid gets the best shot at a great education.”

“This is very near to my heart. We want to bring together everyone who cares about making a difference,” Williams continued. “Like Woolworths, they are a global blueprint for how good businesses should do good business. Today we are announcing a new collaboration to work together to uplift education in South Africa. For food farming that goes easy on the planet. And to create fashion that is not just cool, but also sustainable. So join me and Woolworths on this journey to make a difference. South Africa, are you with us?”


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