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Sustainability in food and retail


Sep 29th 2011, 08:05

Regulations set by the Consumer Protection Act have businesses in the food industry scrambling to ensure that their product packaging meets all the necessary requirements before the deadline in March 2012. An off-set to this is that consumers will become more aware of what food products contain and how they are sourced. One retailer and a few food producers are taking it a step further to ensure that their offerings come from sustainable supply chain, keeping their offerings in the best interests of the consumer and those involved in producing it.  

As a leader in sustainable development, Woolworths has announced its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) earlier this month, making it “the only South African retailer and one of only five South African companies to be listed on the DJSI.” Established in 1999, the DJSI is a family of indexes that evaluates the performance of the world’s leader’s in sustainability. (Woolworths added to Sustainability Index).

To capitalise on this shift in consumer behaviour retailers need to ensure that their contractors source products from sustainable and ethical supply chains.  Ocean King, demonstrates this with its Portuguese Sardines recently being backed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This endorsement indicates that the sardines are sourced from a fishery that complies with the MSC’s strict requirements. (Ocean King Portuguese Sardines – now MSC certified).

Fair trade esteems sustainability and ethical sourcing, and is one in which organic wine producer, Stellar Winery and multi-estate, actively promotes. By obtaining a fair trade certification from Fair for Life, it ensures that both workers and surrounding communities of the winery enjoy greater benefits from its activities. Fair for Life is a Swiss-based social accountability and fair trade programme of IMO (Institute for Marketcology (Stellar Winery Introduces Fair for Life Fair Trade Certification and eco-fair Brand Guarantee).

Ethical product sourcing is a practise that retailers, and food producers, need to implement right away as consumers are becoming more aware of their rights and what’s in their interests.  If they feel that a product is not sourced ethically, there is a great chance that they will vote with their feet and abandon the retailer, or food brand of which they disapprove.



Editor at Capacity Holdings

Focusing on general issues that affect the FMCG and Retail Industries.