SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s alcoholic beverage manufacturers have signed an agreement with the government on good business practices in a bid to improve the business environment, reports Business Report.

Among the companies who signed the guidelines for good business practices include Distell, Heineken, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, SALBA and Vinpro. 

According to Dr Rob Davies, trade and industry minister, the guidelines will inter alia build mutual confidence, trust and benefit for the companies and the societies in which they operate across the continent.

“They are a voluntary set of principles and standards that seek to ensure that the operations of various South African businesses abroad are in compliance with the laws of the countries in which they operate;

…as well as aligned with and in support of government policies and the developmental approach to regional economic integration in the African continent,” Davies said.

The guidelines also aim to encourage companies to align their involvement and practices with the South African government’s integration and development objectives 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 in the continent,” Davies added.

Davies also said that this reaffirms the commitment by both the government and the beverage industry to improve the quality of South Africa’s presence and reputation on the continent.

However, Davies noted that the guidelines do not place any additional bureaucratic or legal obligations on companies.

Rico Basson, the chairperson of Industry Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education, said that the guidelines will also foster alcohol industry’s commitment in advancing Africa’s developmental agenda.

“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 will comply with the laws of the countries in which they operate,” said Basson.

“We are committed to investing in infrastructure and boosting the local economy in the countries we operate in, and in doing so, want to ensure that we are giving back to communities.

We aim to replenish natural resources of the land and empower communities through skills development while conscious of our employees’ well-being and work environments,” he added.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, and the chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry, Joanmariae Louise Fubbs.