• Assessment of relevant local and global ethical trade initiatives: scope, overlapping, complementariness, cost of compliance, impact, internal and external constraints, accreditation, marketing
  • Establish link between ethical trade initiatives and local policies/programs and relevant trade policies
  • Globalizing ethics: global standards vs. local context
  • Investigate the supply chain relationships within ethical trade initiatives
Labour conditions in the South African wine industry have been a contentious issue for decades. This directly links to SDG 8 which stipulates decent work for all. A large proportion of South Africa’s wine production is exported to markets in EU. Governments, consumers, and NGOs in these markets are demanding wine that is produced in a socially responsible and ethical manner. Therefore, several ethical trade initiatives have arisen to ensure compliance with fair labour practices. This case study will assess the impact of these initiatives relevant to wine exports from South Africa to the EU.
  • South African labour laws
  • Labour provisions in the EU-SADC EPA
  • Relevant voluntary sustainability standards on labour rights
Local policy, trade policy and voluntary sustainability standards regarding fair labour practices.
  • Competitiveness between conventionally and ethically produced South African wine.
  • Competitiveness between ethically produced South African wine and wine produced in other developing countries as well as the EU.
  • A review of relevant literature and previous studies.
  • Collection and analysis of primary data from wine grape farmers, farmworkers, wine cellars/processors and wine exporters.
  • Focus group discussions with farmers, processors, exporters, labour unions and industry organisations in the wine industry.
  • Survey research with farmworkers using a structured questionnaire.
  • Inform policy: identify any overlapping or shortfalls between local policy, trade policy and voluntary sustainability standards regarding fair labour practices.
  • Identify best practices for improving labour standards through agricultural exports.

Case Study Leader

North-West University

Local Partner(s)

Stellenbosch University

SDG's Addressed


Geographical Focus and Scale

  South Africa

Product and market focus

Wine; EU market

Key stakeholders

  • Chief Directorate: International Relations and Trade, South African Department Agriculture, of Land Reform and Rural Development
  • Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Province
  • Wines of South Africa (WOSA)
  • Vinpro
  • Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA)
  • SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit (WITU)
  • Wine & Agricultural Ethical Trade Association of South Africa (WIETA)
  • Fair Trade Africa
  • Labour unions
  • Wine grape farmers
  • Farmworkers
  • Wine cellars / processors
  • Wine exporters