Stronger Together

by | Oct 4, 2017 | Development and Transformation

An overview of the South Africa Wine and Fruit Growing Project

Following the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in the UK three years ago, all UK-based companies are required to report annually into the UK government on how they are tackling modern slavery and forced labour in their supply chain and what they are doing to monitor and prevent such practices.

Stronger Together is a globally pioneering business-led collaborative initiative to support industry in tackling forced labour and labour trafficking. We facilitate multi-stakeholder cooperation and since our formation in 2013 we have gained the support of all the nine largest UK supermarkets (i.e. Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury, Co-Operative, Waitrose, Morrisons, Aldi, ASDA and Lidl. We have developed good practice guidance toolkits which are freely available resources for global businesses and their supply chains.

More recently, Stronger Together have received funding from the UK government to launch a new global supply chain project working to promote responsible employment in the wine and fruit growing industries in South Africa. The project will be delivered in partnership with the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (Wieta), working in close collaboration with the Sustainable Initiative of South Africa (Siza) in South Africa.

Forced labour, child labour and human trafficking on farms in the Free State have recently come under the spotlight. It is imperative that the agricultural sector be seen to be proactive in addressing and remedying such unacceptable practices.

The project aims to encourage and facilitate engagement and collaboration between businesses across the fruit and wine supply chain. It will support businesses in South Africa to act responsibly by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to enhance a positive working environment and to detect and deal with forced labour within their operations and supply chain. The project will take a multi-stakeholder approach.

Key points

  • An initial research phase will inform the programme providing insight into the scale and nature of the issue of responsible employment and forced labour in the wine and fruit growing industries in South Africa.
  • A stakeholder engagement programme will seek to have conversations within the fruit and wine value chain around how forced labour is understood in the South African context as well as identify appropriate responses to tackling the issue.
  • Based on a local understanding of the issues we face in the sector, the programme will develop and implement a comprehensive, integrated set of face-to-face training workshops and online learning and sharing opportunities. These workshops will take place predominantly in the Western Cape (47 workshops) as well as in the Northern and Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KZN (the remaining 13 workshops).
  • Pragmatic and specific guidance toolkits and resources will be developed to assist businesses to promote responsible employment.
  • A remediation tool will be developed to help any business to identify any employees or contracted employees who may be subjected to forced labour, to access the services and support they need.

Who should become involved?

Retailers, buyers, suppliers and producers or any other businesses, related NGOs, labour organisations, academics or interested parties in the wine and fruit industries that

  • have an interest in promoting responsible employment and ethical sourcing down agricultural supply chains;
  • have an interest in engaging on the issue of responsible employment and forced labour in South Africa with a view to developing a best practice model;
  • would like to participate in our stakeholder workshops;
  • would like to encourage their organisations, companies or supply chains to participate in face-to-face training workshops and online learning and sharing opportunities;
  • like to receive our specific guidance toolkits and resources;
  • want to be part of developing or have access to a remediation tool to help any business to mitigate risk and to remediate where employees are subjected to forced labour.

Get in touch with our project manager in Stellenbosch, Western Cape:
Caroline Poole
+27 (0) 21 880 0580

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