The liquor industry has signed the Guidelines for Good Business Practice for South African Companies Operating on the African Continent. The signing ceremony, which took place in Cape Town was witnessed by Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, and the chairperson of the portfolio committee on trade and industry, Joanmariae Louise Fubbs. Distell, Heineken, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, SALBA and Vinpro were among companies that signed the guidelines.
Minister Davies said the guidelines aim to encourage companies to align their involvement and practices with the South African government’s integration and development objectives in the continent and to build mutual confidence, trust and benefit for the companies and the societies in which they operate.
Davies added that the signing ceremony confirmed the importance attached by government and the liquor industry to support the development integration efforts of the continent, and to improve the quality of South Africa’s presence and reputation on the continent.
“In line with South Africa’s and the continent’s developmental integration ambitions, the guidelines represent a proactive initiative by government to promote responsible business conduct and good corporate governance by the South African private sector in their business engagements on the continent. They are a voluntary set of principles and standards that seek to ensure that the operations of various South African businesses abroad comply with the laws of the countries in which they operate. They are also aligned with and in support of government policies and the developmental approach to regional economic integration in the African continent,” said Davies.
The minister emphasised the fact that the guidelines do not place any additional bureaucratic or legal obligations on companies. However, they aim to ensure that alignment is created between government and the private sector in our engagements with other African countries, particularly in advancing Africa’s developmental agenda.
Rico Basson, chairperson of the Industry Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education, said the signing represents the alcohol industry’s commitment towards a better future for South Africans and the communities in which they operate.
“Signing the Guidelines for Good Business Practice binds the liquor industry to a set of principles and standards that will ensure business conducted across Africa complies with the laws of the countries in which they operate,” said Basson.
“We are committed to investing in infrastructure and boosting local economy in countries where we operate, and in doing so, we want to ensure that we are giving back to communities. We aim to replenish the natural resources of the land and empower communities through skills development while conscious of our employees’ well-being and work environments,” Basson said. About 60 companies have signed the guidelines to date. – Press release