|First SA wines to carry ethical seal based on good labour practice|
The first 26 wines to carry South Africa’s new, fully traceable, ethical seal have been announced by the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA).
The wines are from Fairview, Robertson Winery, Distell, Durbanville Hills and Spier. The seal testifies that producers have adhered to the WIETA code which is based on the International Labour Conventions’ Ethical Trading Initiative and South African labour legislation. It prohibits the use of child labour, ensures that employment is freely chosen and that employees are working within a healthy, safe environment. It also states that workers should have the right to freedom of association, a living wage and are protected from unfair discrimination. Worker housing and tenure security rights should also be respected.
Awarding the ethical seal to individual wines, rather than the winery, enables producers to source grapes from a number of different vineyards and still use the seal. In order to carry the seal, WIETA brand owners have to identify all their suppliers. At least 60% of these suppliers had to be WIETA accredited, with the other 40% able to demonstrate that they were preparing themselves for accreditation within a year.
Sue Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa chief executive officer explained that because compliance has to be fully traceable across the entire production chain, every wine submitted has to be individually audited. “In a legally binding agreement with WIETA, producers that have been awarded the seal will be able to use it for one year. The producer will then be required to renew the agreement annually for the subsequent vintages.”
She added that these wines are setting an important precedent for the industry in its efforts to fast-track the implementation of fair labour practices on wine farms and in cellars.
WIETA is involved in an extensive producer training programme to assist the major brands in achieving accreditation for their 2013 vintage. It is hoped that all South African producers will be accredited with the new seal by 2015.
The ethical seal is modeled on South Africa’s Sustainability seal which has been developed to promote awareness of production integrity throughout the entire supply chain and is seen as a parallel effort to the Fair Trade and Fair for Life accreditations.
Source - NedBank