Prominent businesses join programme to address forced labour in the fruit and wine producing industries in South Africa. 

May 14, 2018 8:36 pm, Published by , Leave your thoughts

Today, Stronger Together[i], in partnership with the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association[ii] (WIETA) and the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa[iii] (SIZA) is pleased to announce that Backberg Estate, BerryWorld, Ceres Cascade Farms, Co-op Food, Global Fruit Point Germany, Greenyard Fresh, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, South African Liquor Brands Association (SALBA), Spier, Tesco, Vinmonopolet, and Waitrose have joined Stronger Together South Africa. Many more South African businesses are supporting and engaging in the programme. 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 – all businesses in this supply chain nationally and internationally are welcome and encouraged to get involved.

Recent estimates suggest that around 24.9 million people are in situations of forced labour globally[i]. However, due to the hidden nature of this type of exploitation, many business leaders and managers may not be aware of the risks of it happening in their operations or may not have the knowledge to identify and prevent it. New international legislation, such as the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015[ii] and the French corporate duty of vigilance law[iii] are contributing to forced labour becoming a growing priority for businesses across the global supply chain.

Stronger Together supports responsible businesses to address forced labour and hidden labour exploitation as their actions and collaboration is vital to effectively tackle it. The South Africa programme was launched in November 2017, following funding from the UK Home Office Modern Slavery Innovation Fund. The businesses and industry bodies supporting the programme will help shape the initiative that provides producers with country and sector specific guidance to support them to deter, detect and deal with forced labour 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 6 regions the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal  in 2018.[iv] Over 94% of 100+ participants to date 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 have included “Exchanging ideas with other business partners and obtaining new ways of resolving and improving what you not doing right in your business” and “I have learned a lot and the workshop has opened my eyes to what’s really happening outside the office”.
  • Free downloadable resources, including a best practice toolkit, template documents, checklists, guidance, information posters and leaflets for workers, and a short awareness raising film “Eyes Wide Open”, which was recently awarded a Gold World Medal for Instruction and Education at the 2018 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards.

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

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

Sasha-Monique Elvik, Sustainable Sourcing Advisor, Vinmonopolet said “Vinmonopolet believes that providing knowledge of what modern slavery 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. Collaboration across supply chains and the guidance provided by Stronger Together will be valuable in creating awareness of modern slavery, among employers and temporary employment services, in the South African context.”

Ben Machin, Ethical Trading Manager, Greenyard Fresh, said “The Stronger Together South Africa Initiative is an invaluable way to encourage collaboration across international supply chains, from local suppliers through international importers such as Greenyard Fresh and onto recognised retailers. The tools and workshops developed have enabled us to promote awareness of forced labour and modern slavery to our suppliers in South Africa, providing them with the knowledge to help combat this growing global problem.

Tania Moodley, Responsible Sourcing Manager: Africa, Tesco said “Tesco have been a key supporter of Stronger Together in the UK for many years. We are pleased to have the opportunity to expand our work with them on this important programme focused on exploitation such as forced labour in the global fruit and wine supply chains. Enabling industry collaboration, increasing dialogue across the different supply chain actors, and providing vital practical resources for our South African suppliers to identify and address the risks of modern slavery are all key to tacking this issue.

Jantine Werdmuller von Elgg, Global Programme Lead, Stronger Together said “We welcome the leadership of both the South African and international businesses that have joined the global supply chain programme to take this key step on the journey to reduce forced labour in the wine and fruit industries in South Africa. Businesses and individuals working together across supply chains on this issue have the opportunity to make an impact on improving their business processes and decreasing risks to their business, but above all can make an impact to men, women and children that are vulnerable to exploitation. We encourage every business within the industry to join the programme and take advantage of the free resources, training workshops and the opportunity to discuss the challenges and best practice involved in addressing this issue in a safe space.

Linda Lipparoni, CEO, WIETA said “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. This 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 agri-workers and their workplaces against this hidden, exploitative practice.”

ENDS

 

For South Africa media enquiries:

Caroline Poole, Stronger Together South Africa Project Manager

+27 (0)21 – 8800 580 | [email protected]

For international media enquiries:

Katy Winkworth, Stronger Together Communications Manager

+44 (0)1276 919090 | [email protected]

 

Notes to editors
[i] Stronger Together is established and equipped to support business to understand their responsibilities in the fight against modern slavery and provide them with the tools, resources and training needed to address this in their businesses and supply chains. Stronger Together’s project sponsors in the UK include Aldi, Asda, Co-op Food, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. For more information, visit www.stronger2gether.org or contact [email protected]
[ii] The Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) is a multi-stakeholder initiative bringing together stakeholders to actively participate in the development of a world class ethical trade programme for the South African wine industry. For more information, visit https://www.wieta.org.za.
[iii] SIZA enables South African Agriculture to be a global leader in sustainable, ethical trade and environmental stewardship. It is an Agri-Wide multisector stakeholder programme align to International and Local Market standards to manage risks and support continuous improvement of labour conditions on farms. For more information, visit https://siza.co.za.
[i] http://www.alliance87.org/2017ge/modernslavery#!section=1
[ii] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/modern-slavery-bill
[iii] https://www.business humanrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/French%20Corporate%20Duty%20of%20Vigilance%20Law%20FAQ.pdf
[iv] The workshops are led by labour rights experts from the South African fruit and wine sector. Places can be booked at https://www.stronger2gether.org/workshop/tackling-modern-slavery-in-the-fruit-and-wine-industries-south-africa/.

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