A fair for life success story – Every bottle gives back

Wednesday, 11 December, 2013
Stellar Organics
Does buying ethically produced goods really make a difference to farm workers’ lives? Do the farm workers actually see the benefit of the premiums placed on the products you buy? The answer is a resounding yes!

Stellar Winery is a Fair for Life producer. Fair for Life is one of a number of fair trade organisations worldwide that audit businesses according to a strict set of social and environmental standards. A fair trade business ensures that everyone in the supply chain, from workers to suppliers is paid a fair price for their input and a small portion of the retail price goes back to the workers to be used for social development projects.

In Stellar’s case, R0.75 is built into the cost of every bottle of wine sold and the money is paid to the Stellar Empowerment Trust, which benefits all farm and winery workers on the Stellar Winery Multi-Estate. A portion of this money is used to pay for shares in Stellar Winery and the rest goes to social development projects initiated by the workers’ committees and the Trust executive committee. The projects are managed by the Stellar Foundation, an independent non-profit organisation.

Since 2004, a wide diversity of projects has been undertaken. Some have been completed, others are ongoing and new initiatives are in the pipeline. The common factor is the desire to improve working and living conditions for workers and open up avenues of opportunity.

Projects range from small to large in scope. Successfully completed projects include fencing for houses, sunhats for vineyard and winery workers, sport and recreation facilities, a 22-seater bus and vegetable gardens, two of which have become small enterprises.

Some projects are ongoing, for example the primary health care service which is offered to all workers and their families. A mobile clinic is needed to take this service to the next level and in a great start to fundraising, Woolworths’ Wine Division is donating 50c per bottle sold through My School/My Village/My Planet to help turn the vision into reality.

Small beginnings can lead to big things. The creation of an enabling environment on the Stellar Winery Multi-Estate has encouraged some workers to put forward plans for micro-enterprises which they manage in their spare time. Seed money and start-up means are provided by the producers with the help of the Stellar Foundation on mutually-agreed terms. Extra income streams are created which can have far-reaching material benefits, but more importantly, the success of an enterprise creates can-do attitudes and positive role models.

So when next you buy a bottle of wine made by Stellar, thank you! It really does make a difference.