Norsk versjon


Civil society building project in South Africa

Company name

Bama Gruppen AS

Brief description


Bama Gruppen AS markets and distributes fresh fruit and vegetables.  In 2009 it had 1700 employees and a sales turnover of NOK 8.3 billion.

Contact person/details

Øyvind Briså (Company Director), Magne Svartbekk (CSR Director) and Ola M. Bjerklund (Controller)

Tel.: +47 22 88 05 00

Example of good practice

Civil society building project in South Africa



Bama is Norway’s leading distributor of fruit and vegetables and purchases a great deal of its produce from South Africa. In 2007, Bama defined a number of objectives relating to ethical trade. One of these state that in the period 2009–2011, Bama is to cooperate with suppliers in South Africa on improving conditions for workers and their families – while also increasing its focus on the environment.

In 2007, a risk analysis was conducted on one of our suppliers in South Africa, Colors. This supplier was chosen due to its importance in our supply chain. After the completion of the analysis, Colors expressed its intention to improve the living conditions of workers on one of its farms. This was the start of what was to become “Project Colors”. The project has since grown to include other aspects of Colors’ operations – for example, local unions now have become involved. The Norwegian authorities also showed an interest in the project, officially launched in 2009, during a Norwegian state visit to South Africa. 


Example of good practice: Civil society building project in South Africa

The workers’ children are currently at school until 14:00, and they usually visit their parents at their workplace afterwards. However, such a routine can easily give rise to accusations of child labour. The organisation Colors Academy therefore arranges after-school activities, including sports and help with homework. These activities are run in cooperation with the schools. A school building has been restored and is now used for this purpose.

Project Colors is run by a team of specialists in the fields of education and health. In addition to the activities themselves, the children are also served a healthy, nutritious lunch. An effort is similarly made to involve the families, for example by asking parents to help with practical tasks. A day-care centre for the workers’ children has been established, and is run by qualified personnel to serve children from the age of one until they start school. These developments have been completed in line with the belief that sustainable improvements to the living conditions of the workers and their families can only take place through improved education.

It is no secret that wages and working conditions are poor in South Africa, that the level of education among workers is low, and that there is a great deal of general poverty. The aim of Project Colors is to set an example for other fruit exporters by seeking to improve working conditions – for example by paying more than the minimum wage, cooperating with unions, and implementing social measures and projects. Bama is convinced that this approach will yield long-term benefits in the form of higher productivity and product quality. The approach is also important and just from a humanitarian perspective.


Facts about the current situation

  • The project costs,  approximately NOK 2 million a year, are shared between Colors and Bama
  • The next phase of the project will focus on increasing the involvement of employees’ representatives in the project’s implementation

This guide is prepared by Ethical Trading Initiative - Norway (ETI-Norway), with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ethical Trading Initiative-Norway (ETI-Norway) is a membership organisation and a resource centre for ethical trade.
Web by noop.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs