Ethical Trade Programme for Fruit South Africa

Fruit South Africa is launching an Ethical Trade programme. This organisation represents the export fruit industry and has to follow strict rules and legislation for the export market. We spoke to Colleen Chennells from Fruit South Africa.

For the past two years, the FPEF, as a member of Fruit South Africa (FSA), managed an ethical trade programme in South Africa; aimed at transformation on farms. Exporters played a significant role to date in driving ethical compliance on farms, whilst Stuart Symington, CEO of the FPEF, provided leadership, support and guidance to the portfolio. In the past year, the FPEF participated in the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) Section 7 investigation into the feasibility of establishing a multi-stakeholder body to drive ethical trade in agriculture. The Section 7 process is reaching finality and the intent is to make a constructive recommendation to the Minister of Agriculture regarding the way forward. In the meantime, the fruit industry is committed to continue its own ethical trade programme in collaboration with various stakeholders. At the beginning of 2010, FSA identified certain goals for its ethical programme. A six-point Ethical Trade Plan was devised to realise these goals. The goals include: ensuring that the industry drives its own ethical trade portfolio in a professional manner; improving labour conditions on farms; helping to manage commercial risks allied to ethical trade matters; giving retailers confidence in the reputation of their South African grower supply base and reducing the number (and costs) of audits for growers.

The focus of the Ethical Trade Plan will be:

Driving a risk based auditing programme in which 5% of randomly selected exporting farms will be audited annually. The outcomes will be used to identify training and development needs. Whilst the audits are not the prime focus of the FSA ethical programme, they supply the industry with data and insights into growers’ needs.

Avoiding duplication of ethical audits by persuading all local and international retailers to take part in the FSA audit programme.

Developing a South African data system to capture audited results and supply information and trends to the industry. This could also be used to record training data.

Communicating the importance of the FSA ethical programme to all stakeholders through road shows, television, regional growers’ association meetings, study groups and newsletters.

Implementing programmes, based on audited results, to raise awareness, build capacity and use for training; and

Encouraging ethical practices along the supply chain.

For more information go to