SA’s fruit and wine producers pledge support to initiative clamping down on forced labour practices

by | May 16, 2018 | Blog, News

Stronger Together – a business-led collaborative initiative that’s committed to clamping down on forced labour in global supply chains – is pleased to announce the recent pledge of support from South Africa’s fruit and wine producing industries.

On 14 May, Stronger Together – in partnership with Vinpro, through the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) and the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) – has announced the support and engagement from a host of companies in the fruit and wine-producing industry of South Africa

These companies include: BerryWorld, Ceres Cascade Farms, Co-op Food, Global Fruit Point Germany, Greenyard Fresh, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, South African Liquor Brands Association (SALBA), Tesco, Vinmonopolet and Waitrose.

This collaborative, business-led programme works across global supply chains to support producers in the South African fruit and wine industries to tackle forced labour and labour exploitation.

Stronger Together is encouraging all other businesses in this supply chain – nationally and internationally – to get involved in this programme.

The businesses and industry bodies supporting the programme will help shape the initiative that provides producers with country and sector-specific guidance, and thus, support them in deterring, detecting and dealing with forced labour practices and facilitates dialogue and peer-to-peer sharing and learning across the global supply chain.

The free, practical guidance includes 60 specialist interactive face-to-face training workshops in six regions: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal in 2018. Over 94% of the 100+ participants agreed that the workshop increased their understanding of what their business can do to prevent forced labour.

When asked what element of the workshop was most valuable, comments from attendees included: “Exchanging ideas with other business partners and obtaining new ways of resolving and improving what you’re not doing right in your business” and “The workshop opened my eyes to what’s really happening outside the office.”

The guidance also includes free downloadable resources, including a best practice toolkit, template documents, checklists, guidance, information posters and leaflets for works. It also includes a short awareness film entitled, ‘Eyes Wide Open’ which was recently awarded a Gold World Medal for instruction and education at the 2018 New York Festival TV & Film Awards.

In addition, programme partners WIETA and SIZA are updating their ‘best practice’ checklists by which their members are audited to include requirements on addressing forced labour, thus increasing the significance of this issue for South African fruit and wine producers.

Sasha-Monique Elvik, sustainable sourcing advisor at Vinmonopolet, says, “We believe that providing knowledge of what forced labour actually is and how to prevent it, will make a great difference to the lives of workers and the way wineries and grape growers recruit.”

“We’re pleased to expand our work with Stronger Together on this important programme that’s focussed on exploitation such as forced labour in the global fruit and wine supply chains,” says Tania Moodley, responsible sourcing manager for Tesco Africa, who has been a key supporter of Stronger Together in the UK for several years.

CEO of WIETA, Linda Lipparoni, says WIETA’s partnership with Stronger Together on this local initiative is an exciting opportunity to champion the debate on tackling an often misunderstood issue around forced and bonded labour.

“The programme seeks to develop local capacity to implement innovative best practice resources, tools and instruments and to further create both regional and national remedial support aimed at strengthening agri- and wine businesses’ ability to protect their farming communities, their workers and their workplaces against this hidden, exploitative practice.”

Workshops can be booked, resources freely downloaded and more information on Stronger Together South Africa can be found at www.stronger2gether.org./za.

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