At Raisin Social we believe that selling wine is much more than just a business. We are wine enthusiasts with a love of the product we sell, but we also recognise that people are at the heart of our industry and make it our business to treat people fairly and with respect in everything we do. We are a small independent company but we believe our efforts have had a positive impact on large numbers of people working in our industry.
Equally Wine is a product of the landscape, and we understand the responsibility this places upon us to ensure that its production does not harm the natural environment.
Our formal links with ethical trading go back to our involvement in an innovative Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) pilot to set up a method of assessing and monitoring a code of minimum employment standards in the South African wine industry.
As the only wine agent involved in this influential project, we played a major role in getting this important pilot off the ground, giving of our resources, time and effort, and winning over hearts and minds. The pilot was a great success and led to the formation of a local monitoring organisation, WEITA, with the South African Department of Labour as an observer.
In addition to the continuing efforts of WEITA, Raisin Social is proud to be associated with the Beyers Truter Foetal Alcoholism and Interrelated Treatment Help Fund (FAITH), launched on 7 October 2006 at the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Conference in South Africa. FAITH aims to tackle the problem of alcohol abuse in the winelands head-on by raising awareness and funds to tackle related problems.
Simon Halliday, co-owner of Beyerskloof and managing director of Raisin Social said,
“FASD is a serious problem in the Cape and I’m confident that Beyers will make a real difference as he is so well-known and respected in South Africa and throughout the international wine community. Many people in the wine trade tend to bury their heads in the sand and pretend FASD is not happening and it’s a sensitive subject but Beyers has bravely chosen to tackle the issue head-on and we fully support the fund.”
Green issues are scarcely off the Front Pages these days, and no responsible trading organisation can shirk its responsibility to minimise its impact upon the global ecosystem.
The international wine industry places large volumes of goods on the roads and shipping lanes, and thus must contend with the necessity to reduce the resultant 'carbon footprint'. We fully endorse the efforts of our suppliers and retailers to reduce the weight of bottles and other packaging in transit, to embrace bulk shipping and local bottling and to promote recycling and re-use of materials where possible.
Wine production is perfectly possible without 'high-impact' farming techniques, and we support the efforts of our producers to harvest excellent fruit without excessive use of spraying and other invasive treatments, and without the imprudent use of delicate water resources.
Our partners at the La Motte estate exemplify the standards that we believe in, having achieved ISO 14000 certification in Environmental Management. La Motte is also a member of the Green Mountain Eco Route program in the Groenlandberg area and is a registered CapeNature Conservation Site.
As an agricultural industry, wine production carries with it a theoretical risk of damage to surrounding habitat and to the natural balance of plant and animal species. We are committed to the avoidance of all such damage and require all of our wine-producing partners to place a similar priority on the maintenance of biodiversity.
As a shining example, our friends at the Leopard's Leap Winery have taken the step of becoming major sponsors of the Cape Leopard Trust. To purchase of a Leopard's Leap product is thus to act in support of the protection of the magnificent Cape Mountain Leopard. The La Motte winery, allied with Leopard's Leap, has membership of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI), a partnership between the South African wine industry and the WWF in South Africa, aimed at alleviating the impact of agricultural activities on the environment. Primary goals are the protection of the ecology, the protection of biodiversity, including the preservation and rehabilitation of indigenous vegetation, the extermination of alien species and the responsible use of available land. Equally, our partners at the Van Loveren Family Winery have set aside 500 hectares of land expressly for conservation of the natural environment.
Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) is a voluntary environmental sustainability scheme established by the South African wine industry in 1998. Products produced in accordance with this scheme's requirements can be marked with a special neck seal. Our winemaking partners at Neil Ellis Wines have adopted this scheme, and their new winery is an fine example of how this integrated approach can work to ensure the sustainability of our industry.
There is a saying that in order to make a small fortune in the wine industry you have to start with a large one. Sadly this is not entirely true, in that irresponsible or exploitative trading can secure handsome short-run returns for those unprincipled enough to ignore the harm it does elsewhere.
Raisin Social rejects all business practices that are incompatible with the objective of sustainable long-term growth. We regard it as our responsibilty to secure a commercial return and timely payment for all parties in the chain of supply, ensuring a living wage for farm-workers and allowing confident, forward-thinking investment by brand-owners and wineries.