Compliance with standards
Many South African suppliers of Global Fruit Point are members of the sustainability initiative SIZA (Sustainable Agriculture in South Africa). With the SIZA certification they demonstrate compliance with high labour law and ethical standards. SIZA can be recognized as equivalent to GlobalGap and/or Sedex, so no additional audits are required.
The non-profit organization SIZA was founded in 2016, and membership is open to all participants in the supply chain – from the producer/packer to the marketer. Global Fruit Point supports SIZA not only morally but is also as a member. Our quality management team maintains a regular exchange of information with SIZA in South Africa.
The SIZA initiative has set itself the goal of ensuring that all South African suppliers comply with its ethical and environmental standards, thereby ensuring greater safety and better living conditions for workers. The status quo should be continuously improved – even where it is already very good.
SIZA has two main areas of activity:
• Ensuring compliance with labour and ethical standards in the orchards and packing plants through self-assessment questionnaires and subsequent external audits by independent inspection bodies
• Supporting producers, small farmers and farm workers in the introduction of ethical and environmental standards (advisory and training measures, provision of training materials via an Internet library)
A SIZA certification guarantees compliance with ethical standards that are oriented towards the requirements of industrialized countries. The status of implementation is transparently traceable on the SIZA data platform.
Depending on the results, the audits are repeated annually, every three or every five years. SIZA is currently considering reducing the maximum period of 5 years to possibly 3 years. However, we at Global Fruit Point believe that for particularly high-performance producers the present practice is also reliable because in the time between two audits there is an obligation to carry out self-assessments in order to be able to pass the next external audit. This ensures a continuous optimization process even with longer intervals between the external audits.
The ethical standards are based on eight fundamental criteria:
1. Fairness: All SIZA member companies are committed to a fair corporate philosophy.
2. Freedom: There is no forced labour and no illegal means of pressure such as withholding passports.
3. Child protection:No children under the age of 15 work at SIZA member companies. Young people aged 15 to 18 are only employed to the extent permitted by law.
4. Freedom of association: Employees may hold meetings and form trade unions.
5. Equal opportunities: Discrimination is prohibited, and all employees have equal rights and opportunities.
6. Security: The workplaces and their surroundings are hygienically clean and safe.
7. Payment: All employees have legal employment contracts and never receive less than the statutory minimum wage.
8. Working hours: The statutory working time regulations are strictly observed and working hours are documented.
The SIZA audit is based on South African legislation and also complies with the guidelines of the Global Social Compliance Program (http://supply-chain.unglobalcompact.org/site/article/126) which is recognized by well-known international food retail companies such as Tesco, Walmart, M&S, Ahold, Migros, Coop Switzerland, ICA, Delhaize, and Carrefour. The aim is to harmonise ethical requirements in order to avoid the need for multiple certifications.
SIZA Environmental Commitment
In addition to ethical principles, SIZA is increasingly focusing on environmental standards. In cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa (WWF-SA), among others, SIZA has developed guidelines for an environmental commitment and assists farmers in implementing suitable measures. A specially developed questionnaire identifies risks in the farm's ecosystem and in the use of water, soil, energy and raw materials. The results are compared with international standards such as GlobalGap-IFA, GSCP, Sedex, SAI-FSA, etc., an individual action plan is developed, and SIZA ensures regular monitoring of the implementation.
Both pillars – SIZA's ethical principles and environmental commitment – form the framework of a comprehensive social and ecological sustainability program for the South African fresh fruit industry.
Benefits for everyone in the supply chain
SIZA already has over 1,700 registered members and continues to grow rapidly. Not only producers and packers benefit from the SIZA standards, because the self-assessment and audit results of the farms are also visible to other participants in the respective supply chain, including food retail companies, via an electronic platform.
More detailed information is available at https://siza.co.za/.
Sources: SIZA website, Fruchthandel magazine, information from the agency M. Roos