In 2008 the South African fruit industry took a decision to respond to the need to provide retailers and their consumers with assurances of fair labour practices in their supply base, by supporting the development of a single South African based ethical standard and programme that would meet all retailer requirements. Such a programme would aim to harmonise all ethical code requirements in order to assist growers with ethical labour practice compliance whilst minimizing costs.

The ethical trade programme has been formalized in 2016 as the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA), a not-for-profit membership based free standing organization which will be the custodian of an ethical and environmental standard and who will oversee the ethical trade and environmental initiatives for not only fruit anymore, but agriculture in South Africa.  SIZA is open to producers, exporters, importers, retailers and other stakeholders across the supply chain. Membership fees are used to sustain SIZA and support ongoing improvement of working conditions and environmental assurance on farms through identifying needs and building local capacity to respond with appropriate interventions. SIZA focuses on development and continuous improvement. 

SIZA has developed a number of resources linked to ethical and environmental compliance to support its members. All the completed resources are available in the Document Library section of the website for members to use.  SIZA aims to provide growers with the tools to be self-regulated.

SIZA oversee the rollout of the ethical and environmental programme throughout all provinces and all agricultural sectors in South Africa and it ensure effective communication to the industry and stakeholders.  SIZA is proud to have an efficient, well designed, world class platform (MySIZA) which creates visibility and access to accurate and credible audit data.  The platform profiles non-compliances, best practices and risks and monitor pro-active corrective actions and awareness driving continuous improvement, remedy and best practice programmes.

The focus areas of the SIZA Programme are:

  • Monitoring and verification of ethical compliance and environmental assurance best practices for agricultural businesses which takes place through an ethical and environmental self-assessment and third-party social/ethical and environmental audits conducted by independent third-party audit firms.


Focus areas continuous . . .

  • Capacity building programmes include 13 training programmes and a comprehensive toolkit to support suppliers and emerging growers with the implementation of ethical (social) standard and environmental assurance requirements through promoting awareness and understanding of the Social/Ethical and Environmental Standard as well as building practical and social skills to enhance productivity and continuous well-being on farms.
  • SIZA CARES (Creating Awareness and Resilience in Environmental Sustainability) programme forms part of SIZA’s drive towards continuous improvement and to manage environmental risks within the agricultural sector. With the vision of enabling South African agriculture to be a global leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship, agriculture requires the efficient management of soil, water, materials, waste, and energy, while simultaneously taking care of the environment. The SIZA CARES programme therefore assists businesses to establish comprehensive management systems, manage environmental risks and to improve on key performance indicators across the four cornerstones of the environment.
  • Audit oversight programmes include a range of tools beyond the audit that if used in combination rather than isolation, will provide more extensive cover and management of risk between audits making the programme more robust. For example, the programme will involve various verification activities, such as site visits and desktop assessments, which take place between audit periods.
  • Digital Record-keeping through key performance indicators (KPI's) will help producers to monitor the performance of their business practices, such as water-use efficiency, energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and waste production. As recordkeeping and target-setting form the foundation of continuous improvement, the implementation of the SIZA KPI-functionality will enable producers, packhouses, and processing facilities to assess whether they are on track to meet their goals and to put practice into perspective, as standardised methods and calculations are used to track progress over time.
  • Remedial and Best Practice programmes forms part of the SIZA programme because they will ensure that a balanced view can be presented about the ethical and environmental practices on farms and in packhouses and processing facilities in South Africa.
  • Market engagement, effective communication and meaningful stakeholder engagement are critical components to promote environmental assurance, ethical trade, and improved working conditions in the supply chain to maintain market access and to reach new markets.