Consumers, shareholders want improvement in responsible sourcing of labour
11 March 2020
Woolworths will meet with some suppliers before the citrus harvest in a bid to counteract any potential responsible sourcing issues related to labour.
This comes as it warned concerns about responsible sourcing of produce in the horticulture industry are “not going away” with pressure from consumers and shareholders to provide evidence of improvements in this space.
Woolworths responsible sourcing manager Laura McManus told the Citrus Australia Market Outlook Forum in Melbourne that the supermarket wanted to work with suppliers and part of its assistance would include on-farm visits.
“As much as we can we want to kind of cross pollinate with industry, work at that government level too to make sure that we can provide the right tools and resources to suppliers to make this as easy for you as possible,” Laura said.
Laura suggested “simple considerations” for growers around responsible sourcing which had come out of the past 18 months of work.
Checking the Victorian Labour Hire Authority Registry for your provider or conducting a relevant due diligence check
Understanding if your labour provider uses subcontractors
Having robust contracts with labour providers
Knowing who is conducting VEVO checks
Payment of all worker entitlements and issuing compliant piece-rate agreements
Considering supplying information to workers in languages they understand and if workers are paid in cash or via bank transfer
This comes as more than 100 businesses have registered for the industry-led training and certification program Fair Farms since it was launched eight months ago.
Fair Farms was implemented by Growcom on behalf of the Australian horticulture industry to improve employment practices on-farm and reduce risks of worker’s exploitation.
Fair Farms program manager Thomas Hertel told the Forum 77 business had completed the self-assessment required for Fair Farms certification, 40 had done the training and 10 were certified.
Laura McManus, Responsible Sourcing Manager, Woolworths