Spier’s commitment to ethical business was recognised with a gold award at the 2020 Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Awards.
Spier, the historic Stellenbosch wine farm, has won Gold in the Responsible Business category at the 2020 Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Awards, it was revealed by WTM Africa in early April. The awards evaluated previous winners in the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Awards and those for Africa who won Gold in the World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London over the last five years (2015-2019) to identify the best of the best.
For the Responsible Business category, the judges looked for businesses operating in Africa which have taken responsibility to make tourism better across their business. Spier, which won Gold in the Accommodation for Responsible Employment category in the Africa Awards in 2016, was awarded Gold again at the Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Awards in recognition of the farm’s “transparent reporting and the breadth of their approach to improving the employment conditions of their staff”.
In particular, the judges recognised Growing for Good, a range of initiatives that Spier supports, empowering communities to make positive social and environmental change. Among the Spier Growing for Good initiatives the judges highlighted are the Tree-preneurs.
The Tree-preneurs head into some of the Cape’s poorest communities to advocate the care for indigenous trees and plants. They are given seedlings to nurture; once these have reached 30 cm, they are exchanged for vouchers for food, clothing, agricultural goods, tools, bicycles and educational support. In partnership with Wildlands NGO, Spier launched the programme in Western Cape with land on the farm, free electricity and water and the support of Lesley Joemat, a Spier employee. Now celebrating 10 years, the project has contributed to improving the lives of 259 Tree-preneurs in 12 communities through bartering almost a million trees. These have been donated to schools, NGOs, churches and rehabilitation programmes.
In partnership with the Sustainability Institute, the farm has recruited 13 members of the local community (predominantly from Lynedoch village) to learn how to grow their own fresh, nutritious produce at home. Over the next three months they are receiving hands-on training in a demonstration garden at Spier, and also receive a nutritious cooked lunch daily.
Starting on the eve of the lockdown, Spier also now distributes boxes of food to more than 380 underprivileged households in the community on a weekly basis to ensure they receive adequate nourishment during their time at home.