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. 

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. The programme aim to harmonise ethical and environmental code requirements in order to assist growers with ethical labour practice compliance  and environmental stewardship whilst minimizing costs.

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 oversee the rollout of the ethical and environmental programme throughout all provinces and 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:

The SIZA Programme concentrates on fostering environmental assurance, ethical (social) trade, and improved working conditions within supply chains. Through diverse strategies such as market engagement, audit assessments, capacity building, digital monitoring, and more, the program aims to drive sustainable practices and position South African agriculture as a global leader in sustainability and ethical (social) compliance standards.

  • Market engagement, effective communication and meaningful stakeholder engagement are critical components of promoting environmental assurance, ethical trade, and improved working conditions in the supply chain to maintain global market access and reach new markets as is required for any agricultural commodity that are and may become members of the SIZA programme.
  • Monitoring and verification of ethical compliance and environmental assurance requirements for agricultural businesses. This monitoring takes place through an ethical and environmental self-assessment and third-party social/ethical and environmental audits that are conducted by independent third-party audit bodies where SIZA is the independent partner overseeing the compliance journey of each business.

Focus areas continuous . . .

  • Audit oversight programmes include a range of tools beyond the audit that, if used in combination rather than in isolation, will provide more comprehensive cover and management of risk between audits, making the programme more robust. For example, the programme involves various verification activities, such as site visits and desktop assessments, which take place between audit periods. The oversight programme furthermore includes active engagement with third-party audit firms to enhance competency, review quality and drive a calibrate approach. This is supported with an active engagement with producers pre- and post-audit to assist with preparation, and corrective actions to ensure that continuous improvement takes place. By driving a comprehensive and credible audit oversight programme, it assures that global markets have trustworthy audit data. By ensuring reliable results and outputs to markets, growers in South Africa have access to a programme that is accepted and offer the best solution for monitoring and implementing their social/ethical and environmental compliance.
  • Digital monitoring through key performance indicators 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 digital recordkeeping 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. The programme will furthermore allow for buyers to gain access to world-class reporting on key performance indicators, resulting in data showcasing areas of improvement, trends and inputs over time.
  • Capacity building programmes and a comprehensive toolkit to support suppliers and emerging growers with the implementation of the ethical (social) standard and environmental assurance requirements. This is done by promoting awareness and understanding of the Social/Ethical and Environmental Standards and building practical and social skills to enhance farms' productivity and continuous wellbeing of all those living and working on farms and in agricultural packing/processing facilities. SIZA is regularly expanding this section to include areas/training and capacity building initiatives where the biggest non-conformances are shown after verification and evaluations are conducted.  SIZA has developed a number of resources linked to ethical and environmental compliance to support its members.  Resources are available on the MySIZA Platform to provide growers with the tools to be self-regulated.
  • Remedial and Best Practice programmes form part of the SIZA programme because they ensure a balanced view of the ethical and environmental practices on farms, in packhouses, and processing facilities in South Africa.