We’re keen to work with growers who go about their business in an ethical way – that is, paying a fair price for goods and services, making sure people are treated fairly, and minimising their environmental impact. The good news is that there are already plenty of producers doing just that, so we want to shine a light on the fantastic work they’re doing.
We start in South Africa, a country which has had its fair share of ethical issues regarding labour standards and employee welfare. The creation of bodies such as the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) has had a big impact, putting in place codes of conduct for companies and providing them with support, encouraging them to sign up.
Several wine producers have gone a stage further. Villiera, in Stellenbosch, made office space available for The Pebbles Project, which educates and enriches the lives of disadvantaged children and families in the Western Cape. They have access to Villiera’s wildlife sanctuary, teaching them about environmental awareness, and an after-school club provides a safe environment for children while their parents are still at work.
Pebbles benefits from another Cape producer, too: Lubanzi. The winery donates 50% of its net profits to the organisation. It’s also certified carbon neutral and a member of B-Corp (an organisation that unifies businesses that balance profit and purpose). And another South African producer, Reyneke, has developed the Cornerstone Project, which funds housing and education for all its workers.
Over in South Australia, Forage Supply Co has launched a number of community-focused projects. It has built gardens for schools and created paid work opportunities for homeless communities, as well as supplying them with food and clothing.
Closer to home, Spain-based Península Vinicultores works with individual growers and co-operatives from the Sistema Central area of central Spain as part of the Vino de Montaña (Mountain Wine) project. Sistema Central is home to some stunning high-altitude vineyards, but their viability was in doubt because of the need to hand-harvest and the incredibly low yields. The project ensures a fair price for grapes and wine from the area, ensuring their long-term future.
By the end of 2023, we’d like our suppliers to be signed up to our revised, sustainability-focused Code of Conduct. It’s highly encouraging to know that many producers around the world are already doing what they can to behave in a responsible, ethical way.
For more information, view our sustainability section