Environmental management Distell strives towards the highest standards of environmental responsibility, seeking to promote environmentally sustainable production in all areas of its activities. The company undertakes to comply with all relevant legislation, reduce the impact of our production processes on the environment and prevent pollution by using best practices and technologies.
In addition, an environmental working Group has been established to keep on identifying, planning, implementing and reviewing initiatives and report on these with a view to continually raising standards. Measurements and monitoring practices are also continually evaluated and enhanced. Environmental management systems have been developed for all operations in line with ISO 14001 requirements. To promote the integration of all the company’s environmental initiatives, employees are engaged through training, development and education in environmental awareness, while key suppliers, contractors, customers and the communities where we operate, have also become involved.
The environmental priorities under the microscope are:
- Air emissions
- Solid waste
- Integrated Production of Wine (IPW)
Distell is fully compliant with IPW, which promotes sustainable wine production and is rated one of the most progressive systems of its type worldwide.
- Organic wine growing
The organically cultivated vineyards on the Distell farms, Plaisir de Merle and Papkuilsfontein, have been accredited by Swiss-based Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), the international body that monitors organically grown agricultural foodstuffs.
- Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI)
The BWI is a pioneering partnership between the local wine industry and the conservation sector aimed at minimizing any further loss to the highly threatened Cape Floral Kingdom (CFK).
The environment is also a focus area for our Corporate Social Investment, with projects such as:
- Amarula Elephant Research Programme
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) and Peace Parks Foundation (PPF)
- Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS)
Distell has a range of community projects that are aimed primarily at uplifting rural poor communities, a prime example being in the Northern Cape.
Distell has initiated and structured an empowerment initiative with several wine industry players to provide skills training and income to marginalised rural communities in the Northern Cape, bringing them into the wine industry and opening up opportunities for land ownership.
Other initiatives included:
- Uylenkraal, Gansbaai.
Distell has acquired a 75 ha farm adjacent to Lomond Vineyards in Gansbaai, which has been bought expressly for the purpose of establishing a BEE venture involving workers on the farm, as well as those from the neighbouring Lomond.
Distell, together with tribal indunas representing the communities in these areas, established the Section 21 Mirma Product Development Company. In addition to managing the collection of marula fruit harvests from the relevant communities and transporting them to the factory in Phalaborwa, the development company also conceives and initiates other revenue producing projects within these communities and develops the infrastructure to enhance general quality of life.
Distell has recently revised its CSI strategy to focus on, amongst others:
- Health, focusing on the prevention of alcohol abuse; and
- Job creation
Education is a focus area of Distell’s Corporate Social Involvement. Some of the initiatives include:
- CGW Schuman Medal awarded to the top student in the faculty of Commerce at the University of Stellenbosch;
- Amarula’s Scholarship Programme at the School of Life & Environmental Studies at the University of Kwazulu Natal;
- Sponsorship of Agritrain, a bridging programme aimed at preparing high school graduates for tertiary institutions in the field of agriculture.