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SA WINE INDUSTRY'S PLANNED ETHICAL SEAL, ARGUABLY A WORLD-FIRST

03/05/2012

Afrikaans volg onder.
 

Labour and producers in South Africa`s wine industry are united in their backing of a programme to fast-track the implementation of fair labour practices on wine farms and in cellars.
 
The plan is to do so under the aegis of the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) that will monitor compliance.
 
Established a decade ago, WIETA is a local not-for- profit association that actively promotes ethical trade in the wine industry value chain through training, technical assessment and audits to assess compliance with its code of good practice. Stakeholders include producers, retailers, trade unions, NGOs and government.
 
The fair labour initiative, supported by foreign retailers, the Food & Allied Workers` Union (FAWU), Sikhula Sonke, Women on Farms, as well as established industry organisations such as the SA Liquor Brandowners` Association (SALBA), Wine Cellars SA and producer organisation VinPro, envisages the creation of an ethical seal that will testify to reasonable working conditions, based on rigorous and closely monitored qualification criteria.
 
This is believed to be a world-first amongst wine-producing countries.
 
Only those producers who meet the criteria set by WIETA will be entitled to use the seal on their wines. It is anticipated that the first seals will be granted later this year to currently compliant producers.
 
The WIETA code of good practice is premised on the base code of the International Labour Conventions` Ethical Trading Initiative and also incorporates South African labour legislation.  It precludes the use of child labour, asserts that employment should be freely chosen and that all employees should have the right to a healthy and safe working environment. Amongst the conditions it sets are that workers should have the right to freedom of association, a living wage and to be protected from unfair discrimination. Worker housing and tenure security rights should also be respected.
 
WIETA CEO Linda Lipparoni said: "By introducing the seal, we want to acknowledge and accredit wineries and farms that follow ethical practices and to protect them from any potential negative publicity resulting from those who flout the law.
 
"After almost 20 years of democracy and exposure of the country`s wine producers to international best-practice, we have reached a level of maturity where no abuses of human rights should be countenanced.  The industry has no place for the few who, by perpetuating unfair, inhumane labour practices are tarnishing the majority who recognise that the ethical treatment of workers is both a moral and a legal obligation."
 
Rico Basson, CEO of VinPro said the initiative was intended to increase the confidence in South African wines both domestically and internationally, and to capitalise on the industry`s global leadership in eco-sustainable production.
 
"Winelovers have the right to know the wines they enjoy have been made with respect for the environment and in accordance with ethical working conditions.
 
"Our industry has built a reputation for advancing environmentally sustainable wine production. Now is the time to match that reputation with an infrastructure to promote social sustainability.  As a start, we need greater awareness and implementation of the law with both workers and producers understanding their rights and responsibilities," he added.
 
Lipparoni said the fully traceable seal was being modelled on South Africa`s sustainability seal developed to promote awareness of the production integrity followed at every stage of the supply chain from vineyard to bottle.
 
She confirmed the fast-tracking ethical programme would be implemented in three phases, starting with the simultaneous training of workers, owners and management in labour law and the WIETA code of fair trading principles.  All training manuals would be supplied free of charge by WIETA.
After the initial training phase, all producers would be required to complete assessment forms to determine their level of compliance and would be given further support from WIETA in taking the necessary steps to address gaps.
 
In the final stage of the process, producers would be required to pass a full WIETA audit, involving on-site inspections.
 
To be entitled to carry the ethical seal, brand owners would have to enter an annually renewable, legally binding agreement with WIETA. To ensure total traceability brand owners would have to identify all their suppliers. At least 60% of these suppliers would also have to be WIETA-accredited, with the other 40% would have to demonstrate that they were preparing themselves for accreditation.
 
Lipparoni confirmed that WIETA was also considering the recognition of ethical, health and safety audits undertaken by other recognised bodies to facilitate the accreditation process.
 
Basson added that the longer-term goal was to ultimately have a single seal, issued by the Wine & Spirit Board that would confirm both production integrity and fair working conditions, as well as certified wine of origin information, such as vintage date and varietal.
 
WIETA will be working with Wines of South Africa (WOSA) who will promote the new ethical seal, along with Fairtrade and Fair for Life, to trade and consumers.
 
For more information visit www.wieta.org.za.
 
DATE                         MAY 3, 2012             
ISSUED BY               DKC (DE KOCK COMMUNICATIONS)
ON BEHALF OF       WIETA
QUERIES                  
SU BIRCH, CEO, WOSA (021) 8833860, 082 563 0677
LINDA LIPPARONI, WIETA (021) 880 0580, 082 864 1816
TESSA DE KOCK/MARLISE POTGIETER, DKC (021) 422 2690, 082 579 2358
 

SA WYNBEDRYF SE BEPLANDE ETIESE SEËL MOONTLIK WÊRELD SE EERSTE
 
Werkers en produsente is verenig in hul steun vir ʼn program vir die versnelde implementering van billike arbeidspraktyke op wynplase en -kelders.
 
Die plan is om dit te doen onder die beskerming van die Etiese-handelsvereniging van die Wyn- en Landboubedryf (WIETA) wat nakoming sal monitor. WIETA is ʼn plaaslike vereniging sonder winsbejag wat ʼn dekade gelede tot stand gekom het om etiese handel in die wynbedryf se waardeketting te bevorder en deur oudits die nakoming van sy kode van goeie praktyke te bepaal. Onder sy belangegroepe tel produsente, kleinhandelaars, vakbonde, NROs en die regering.
 
Hierdie billike-arbeidsinisiatief, wat deur oorsese kleinhandelaars, die Food & Allied Workers` Union (FAWU), Sikhula Sonke, Women on Farms asook deur gevestigde bedryfsorganisasies soos die SA Liquor Brandowners` Association (SALBA), Wynkelders SA en die produsentevereniging VinPro gesteun word, beoog die skepping van ʼn etiese seël wat redelike werkstoestande, gegrond op kwalifiseringskriteria wat streng en presies gemonitor sal word, sal bevestig.
 
Daar word gemeen dit sal die eerste sodanige seël wees wat deur ʼn wynproduserende land ingestel word.
 
Slegs daardie produsente wat aan WIETA se vereistes voldoen, sal hierdie seël op hul wyne mag aanbring. Daar word voorsien dat die eerste seëls later vanjaar toegeken sal word aan produsente wat tans aan hierdie vereistes voldoen.
 
Die WIETA-kode van goeie praktyk is gegrond op die basiskode van die Internasionale Arbeidskonvensie se Etiese Handelsinisiatief en behels ook Suid-Afrikaanse arbeidswetgewing. Dit belet die gebruik van kinderarbeid, verklaar dat indiensneming uit vrye keuse moet wees en dat alle werknemers die reg op ʼn gesonde en veilige werksomgewing moet hê. Onder die voorwaardes wat dit stel, is dat werkers die reg op vrye assosiasie moet hê, ʼn menswaardige loon moet ontvang en teen onregverdige diskriminasie beskerm moet word. Regte op werkersbehuising en arbeidsekuriteit moet ook gerespekteer word.
 
Linda Lipparoni, WIETA se uitvoerende hoof, het gesê met die instelling van die seël "wil ons erkenning en akkreditasie gee aan wynmakerye en plase wat etiese praktyke volg en hulle beskerm teen enige potensiële negatiewe publisiteit wat geskep word deur diegene wat hulle nie aan die wet steur nie".
 
"Na byna 20 jaar van demokrasie en blootstelling van die land se wynmakers aan internasionale beste praktyk, het ons die vlak van volwassenheid bereik waar geen skending van menseregte geduld behoort te word nie. Daar is geen plek in die bedryf vir die enkeles wat volhard met onmenslike arbeidspraktyke en daardeur die meerderheid benadeel wat die etiese behandeling van werkers as sowel ʼn morele as ʼn wetlike verpligting beskou."
 
Rico Basson, uitvoerende hoof van VinPro, het gesê die doel van die inisiatief was om vertroue in Suid-Afrikaanse sowel plaaslik as internasionaal te verhoog en voordeel te trek uit die land se globale leierskapsposisie in volhoubare produksie.
 
"Wynliefhebbers is geregtig daarop om te weet dat die wyn wat hulle drink, gemaak is met eerbied vir die omgewing en onder etiese werksomstandighede.
 
"Ons bedryf het vir hom ʼn reputasie vir die bevordering van omgewingsvolhoubare wynproduksie opgebou. Dit het tyd geword dat ons hierdie reputasie ewenaar met ʼn reputasie vir die bevordering van sosiale volhoubaarheid. As vertrekpunt benodig ons groter bekendheid met en implementering van die wet met sowel werkers as produsente wat verstaan wat hul regte en verantwoordelikhede is," het hy gesê.
 
Lipparoni het gesê die ten volle naspeurbare seël is gegrond op Suid-Afrika se volhoubaarheidseël wat ontwikkel is om bewustheid te bevorder van die produksie-integriteit wat in elke stadium van die voorsieningsketting van die wingerd tot die bottel geld.
 
Sy het bevestig dat die etiese program  in drie fases geïmplementeer sal word. Die eerste is die gelyktydige opleiding van werkers, eienaars en bestuur in arbeidswetgewing en die WIETA-kode van billike handelsbeginsels. WIETA verskaf alle handleidings vir opleiding gratis.
 
Na die aanvanklike opleidingsfase, voltooi alle produsente vorms om te bepaal tot watter hoogte hulle aan die vereistes voldoen waarna daar verdere bystand van WIETA is om die areas waar hulle te kort skiet, aan te spreek.
 
In die finale fase van die proses moet produsente ʼn volle WIETA-oudit slaag. Die oudit sluit inspeksies ter plaatse in.
 
Ten einde die etiese seël te kan vertoon, moet handelsmerkeienaars ʼn jaarliks hernieubare, wetlik bindende ooreenkoms met WIETA sluit. Ten einde volledige naspeurbaarheid te verseker, moet handelsmerkeienaars al hul verskaffers identifiseer. Minstens 60% van hierdie verskaffers moet ook by WIETA geakkrediteer wees terwyl die oorblywende 40% bewys moet kan lewer dat hulle hulself op akkreditasie voorberei.
 
Lipparoni het aangedui dat WIETA dit oorweeg om etiese, gesondheids- en veiligheidsoudits wat deur ander erkende organisasies onderneem is, te erken ten einde die akkreditasieproses te vergemaklik.
 
Basson het gesê die langertermyn-doelwit was ʼn enkele seël wat deur die Wyn- en Spiritusraad uitgereik word en wat sowel produksie-integriteit as billike werkstoestande bevestig benewens gesertifiseerde wyn-van-oorspronginligting soos oesjaar en kultivar.
 
WIETA sal saamwerk met Wines of South Africa (WOSA) wat die nuwe etiese seël aan die handel en verbruikers sal bevorder tesame met Fairtrade en Fair for Life.
 
Vir verdere inligting gaan na www.wieta.org.za.
 
DATUM                                 3 MEI 2012                
UITGEREIK DEUR              DKC (DE KOCK KOMMUNIKASIE)
NAMENS                               WIETA
NAVRAE                              
SU BIRCH, UITVOERENDE HOOF, WOSA (021) 8833860, 082 563 0677
LINDA LIPPARONI, WIETA (021) 880 0580, 082 864 1816
TESSA DE KOCK/MARLISE POTGIETER, DKC (021) 422 2690, 082 579 2358