2022 For comprehensive ethical sourcing initiative
Spier Wine Farm won the Ethical Award at the Drinks Business Green Awards 2022 at a ceremony in London on Tuesday, attended by Managing Director, Frans Smit.
This special prize is awarded to a business that is committed to improving and benefiting surrounding communities and carries out best ethical practices in their day-to-day operations.
The Ethical Award recognises Spier’s comprehensive efforts to ensure the fair and responsible treatment of workers throughout its supply chain. These efforts – as well as compliance with leading local and international ethical certifications – forms part of Spier Growing for Good: a range of initiatives empowering communities to create positive social and environmental change.
Caring for vines. Caring for people.
In 2004, Spier became one of the first wineries and farms in South Africa to be certified by WIETA (the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trading Association). It was assigned the most favourable risk rating – A – based on WIETA’s code of conduct which encompasses employees’ working conditions, housing, tenure as well as health and safety. WIETA’s standards and benchmarks align with South Africa’s labour and occupational health and safety legislation as well as the International Labour Organisation’s conventions.
In 2021, Spier sourced grapes from 23 grape growers who employ 2 731 employees and bulk wine from 26 cellars employing over 10 000 people. Spier MD, Frans Smit says, “Because Spier buys grapes and bulk wine from many suppliers, we realised we needed to look beyond just our own farm – and at our supply chain in its entirety.”
In 2017, Spier introduced a system to ensure suppliers provided access to their WIETA audit reports, signed Spier’s Supplier Code of Conduct and committed to continuous improvement
Smit says, “Having mutually identified areas where suppliers require support, our compliance team has given training and other forms of tailormade assistance on an ongoing basis to ensure there is continuous improvement of their ethical status.”
On-site supplier audits conducted by Spier’s dedicated Social Compliance and Training Specialist consist of a comprehensive assessment using check-lists as well as in-depth employee interviews. Combined, the result is a meaningful, accurate and nuanced picture of a supplier’s ethical status and the working conditions experienced by employees.
Following its most recent audit in 2021, Spier received the highest audit rating (A) for the amfori BSCI standard issued by amfori — a global supply chain certification specialist headquartered in Brussels.
Knowledge is power
As gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the biggest issues facing workers in Spier’s supply chain, the winery has also initiated an education and empowerment drive to educate and empower staff (both its own and 14 suppliers – encompassing 424 workers) with the right resources. Trained social workers conducted in-person multilingual sessions, provided after-training referrals for GBV victims, and helped create educational posters. These which have been widely distributed across the supply chain.
Spier has also provided key support for Stronger Together’s South Africa programme which assists the nation’s agri-businesses to identify and address the risk of forced labour within their businesses and supply chains. The programme’s offerings has included a pilot assessment enabling South African producers to identify manifestations of forced labour, as well as training and educational resources on modern slavery and human trafficking.
“We are delighted that our efforts to ensure fair and ethical treatment for all the employees in our supply chain have been recognised with this international award,” says Smit.
This is the second time Spier has been recognised by the Drinks Business Green Awards. In 2019 it won the Biodiversity Award for its ambitious indigenous replanting programme.