07 July 2021

Social inequality, human integrity and environmental protection are global challenges. These issues have been gaining momentum for years, and now, with a global pandemic illustrating just how fragile our environmental-human system is, there is an even greater onus on businesses to act in a sustainable matter. Protecting our earth and its people is not a choice anymore, it is a crucial call for all businesses to fully embrace sustainable practices to ensure a liveable future.

KWV, a leading South African wine and spirits company founded in 1918, is heeding this call with sustainable business practices that serve and protect the future of the planet, while respecting human rights with fair labour practices and empowerment programmes. As the call for a sustainable future becomes increasingly amplified, so does the need for sustainable business practices. KWV has put renewed emphasis on its short-term and long-term sustainability goals to further support its mandate as a company acting in the best interest of all stakeholders.

“Accountability and sustainability are embodied in trust,” says KWV’s CEO, Boyce Lloyd, “trust goes beyond product and product integrity, it goes to the very heart of what a company stands for – not only what it makes, but how it operates. This accountability reaches from the soil to the cellar, in everything we do and touch”.

Corporate social responsibility

Situated in Paarl, this producer has chosen to empower its immediate communities through various programmes which empower citizens at various stages: from infant to adulthood. This longstanding involvement in the Paarl region include NGOs and NPOs that have a targeted focus on key areas of concern in communities. These include the Khula Development Group, Pebbles Project, Athlone House, Outside the Bowl, Salt & Light Kids as well as the Good Hope Day Care Centre.

KWV is also actively involved in the empowerment of people through enterprise development. Two enterprises that have grown into fully fledged businesses include LET’s GO Shuttle Services, as well as Fleet Coffee Company, a barista-style coffee bar which empowers unemployed youth.

Ethical and fair working conditions

KWV is committed to ethical working conditions, both in the field, cellar and in its boardrooms, and it is a member of various organisations to which annual compliance audits are submitted. These include the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), Fairtrade and WIETA – organisations with environmentally sustainability, fair trading conditions and empowerment at their core.

Environmental sustainability

KWV is fully committed to a green future, and endeavours to ensure this sustainable approach is followed right through its supply chain. To further this goal, KWV’s emphasises the necessity of a lower carbon footprint with its suppliers, most of which have committed green practices in place.

A major step to lower KWV’s carbon footprint has been the introduction of lightweight glass, which reduces raw material usage, emissions, overall weight and energy consumption. Lightweight glass is now used in most of KWV’s mass ranges, including KWV Wines, KWV Classic, Laborie, Pearly Bay and Bon Esperance – to name a few. KWV is also a member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent, non-government, not-for-profit organisation that was established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forest. By subscribing to the FSC, KWV assures that its products such as wood and paper have been harvested in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

In addition, KWV has made numerous adjustments to its operations to ensure its impact on the environment is reduced, including glass recycling, the use of solar power and HFO fuel, non-paper business solutions and optimised routing models that save on fuel usage. A major upgrade is also underway at KWV’s Worcester-based distilling operation’s boiler, which will see a major reduction in carbon emissions per unit of steam generated.

“From small goals to large scale transformations, KWV continuously adopts positive changes to its business practices to ensure its footprint is minimised,” said Lloyd.