Spier Wins Gold at 2020 Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Awards

Event Africa Contributor 21/04/2020 Awards

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Spier won gold in the “Responsible Business” category at the 2020 Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Awards, with judges recognising our commitment to doing good through learning, through investing in Growing for Good, a range of learning initiatives that empower communities to make positive social and environmental change.

In this category, the judges were looking for businesses which have taken the responsibility to make tourism better across their business, where a range of issues are addressed, many of which are replicable by other companies. While some of their initiatives may appear small scale, cumulatively they make a big difference and remember many businesses are still do nothing or very little.

Herewith the judge’s comments:
Spier is one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms, a day visit attraction with a hotel and a conference facility. Spier won Gold in the Accommodation for Responsible Employment category in the Africa Awards 2016. The judges recognised them for their “ the transparent reporting and the breadth of their approach to improving the employment conditions of their staff ranging from addressing the issue of safety on public transport to their provision of Individual Learning Spend budgets to support the development of skills and knowledge, for personal development and innovation for the employee and their family for example by using it to pay school fees.

Since 2016 Spier has expanded its commitment to doing good through learning, investing in Growing for Good, a range of learning initiatives that empower communities to make positive social and environmental change, making a difference through learning.

  • Learning Spend: each employee receives money to spend on their personal development. The stipend can be spent on anything that will empower their staff with skills and knowledge, boost health and wellbeing, foster financial wellness or enhance self-awareness and self-knowledge. Some staff members use this money to help pay for their children’s school fees.
  • Tree-preneurs, range in age from 5 to 93, drawn from some of the Cape’s poorest communities they have been taught how to care for indigenous trees and plants. They are given seedlings to nurture; once these have reached 30cm, they are exchanged for vouchers for food, clothing, agricultural goods, tools, bicycles and educational support. Initially established in KwaZulu-Natal by the Wildlands Conservation Trust the programme now operates in 24 communities across South Africa. Spier launched the programme in Western Cape with land on the farm, free electricity and water and the support of Lesley Joemat, a Spier employee. Tree-preneurs at Spier are now celebrating their tenth year, they have contributed to improving the lives of 259 Tree-preneurs in 12 communities through bartering trees. They have grown 990,709 trees donated to schools, NGOs, churches and rehabilitation programmes.
  • Spier supports the primary school in Lynedoch Eco-village, by sponsoring a multidisciplinary team of Community Keepers who offer psychological and social services such as counselling, therapy, assessments, as well as life skills programmes and parenting workshops.
  • Each year 30 ceramic apprentices join the Spier Arts Academy on a three-year programme. The Creative Block project invites established and emerging artists to transform blocks in any medium they choose. The best are purchased immediately for resale at R1500 each enabling artists to earn an immediate income and to break out into new artistic territories.
  • Spier recruits entry-level staff through Harambee, an initiative which sources, trains and places unemployed young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into their first jobs.
  • Every new employee participates in a five-day training course to explore environmental and social challenges, encouraging them to play a positive and meaningful impact as ‘agents of change’.
  • Spier currently pays 40% above the minimum wage for hourly earners and 55% above the minimum wage for full-time earners. The staff retention rate is 77%.
  • They encourage visitors and guests to pack for a purpose proving information about what is needed.
  • Spier recycles 97% of their solid waste, 100% of organic waste and 100% of grey- and black-water.