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A review of corporate social investment in the South African wine industry has revealed that long-term commitment, collaboration and dedicated resources are key to developing its people. These elements will now form part of a new strategic framework.

A collective approach offering practical solutions for social investment is envisioned as part of the new strategic plan for the wine and brandy industries.

To start off with, an independent survey to measure the extent of the current CSI in the industry was commissioned by the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (Wise), an initiative by various stakeholders to formulate a new strategic framework.

“The findings of the CSI survey – you can’t manage what you haven’t measured! – will be incorporated into a transformation plan to provide an industry-wide, collective approach, offering practical solutions linked to realistic targets,” said Johan Giliomee, VinPro’s manager of  transformation and development. Giliomee is tasked with co-ordinating this specific Wise project, expected to be rolled out early in 2016.

“Some of the attributes of successful initiatives identified by the survey include long-term commitment, dedicated project managers, collaborating in groups and creating an efficient system to manage contributions. The industry can definitely learn from these projects,” said Giliomee.

THE SURVEY

Participants in the survey conducted by experienced independent researcher Elmarie Becker included cellars, large-scale manufacturers and regional representatives in the wine and tourism sectors.

KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:

  • A total spend of R32 million and 206 projects were directly related to socio-economic development, focusing mostly on education, life-skills training and counselling, as well as housing.
  • Close to 46% of the beneficiaries were children between the ages of seven and 18 years, with 106 early childhood development centres and 23 after-school care facilities on farms across the different wine regions.
  • Monetary contributions comprised 41% of total investment, compared to skills or goods.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The report recommended that the wine industry considers beneficiaries across society – from the youth to the old-aged, both genders and the unemployed – and look at them holistically, providing support for the body, mind and soul (emotions) of the individual.

Skills transfer could also make a much greater impact than pure monetary contributions. “We need to invest more in training and coaching,” said Giliomee.

Smaller stakeholders, in particular, could make a more sustainable contribution if funds are pooled in a vehicle with dedicated resources to implement larger CSI projects.

Funding from outside the industry (such as government) and the country could be obtained and effectively channelled by establishing the necessary structures to ensure well-managed donations or grants.

The VinPro Foundation was established in 2013 with this in mind, and has already managed to fund numerous CSI, training and ethical trade initiatives through partnerships with industry and external funders.

“Evangelise your successes!” Giliomee said, and encouraged stakeholders to use media and social media more effectively: websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts all offer ways in which to showcase their CSI activities.

Published in the July 2015 issue of WineLand magazine.

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