Photo: SOMO

Following the investigation by SOMO and its South African partner TCOE into the labour conditions on South African wine companies, Dutch supermarkets Jumbo and Albert Heijn announced improvements.

Albert Heijn (Ahold) indicated it wanted to make a “deep due diligence dive” on South African wine in 2020. What exactly this means is still unknown.

Jumbo also acknowledged that “wine from South Africa has greater risks in terms of human rights in both grape growing and wine production”. But its approach is disappointing: it only mentions the South African improvement initiative WIETA, which is not sufficiently effective in the eyes of our South African partners.

However, WIETA announced that its new assessment method – recently introduced to rank companies from good to bad – will be better highlighted and will take action where necessary. WIETA has also promised to share audit reports with Albert Heijn from now on.

In addition, CSAAWU – the South African trade union we work with – has indicated that during recent negotiations, the wine company Groot Constantia finally committed itself to improving working conditions. The study, in which SOMO was involved, may have provided the final push.