LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (March 26, 2019) – The world’s leading provider of fresh berries, Driscoll’s, was acknowledged at the 2019 Sedex awards for the best Health and Safety Labor Program in recognition for the company’s comprehensive approach to labor compliance, which extends beyond farm audits and addresses systemic worker welfare issues.
Driscoll’s labor program, which complements the company’s focus on prioritizing sustainable business practices, is built in partnership with hundreds of independent growers that grow and harvest berries sold under the Driscoll’s brand to ensure the well-being and dignity of each farmworker.
Driscoll’s in 2015 implemented global labor standards
representing criteria where laws did not exist, were not consistently enforced, or provided lower protection to the workers. The company continues to use a third-party audit process to confirm these standards are adhered to by the family of independent growers.
“Supply chain actors along with global and local institutions must work together to introduce solutions that ensure a stable future for farms and ensure the agriculture industry remains a viable option for both farmers and all workers,” said Candida Barbato, Senior Workforce Manager for Driscoll’s. As an integral part in developing and managing the labor program, she accepted the award on behalf of Driscoll’s. Barbato thanked the team and independent growers for translating a global vision into an everyday reality.
Driscoll’s also works with its network of independent growers to ensure legally-required social security benefits are distributed even in geographies where industry practices don't support it. Driscoll’s collaborates with local government agencies, NGOs and independent growers to increase worker access to education and public services in rural areas, support registration processes, and educates the local workforce to best access their social security benefits. The benefits of this program have reached over 40,000 local workers and their families in Mexico and Morocco to date.
Although Driscoll’s is proud of the work, Barbato acknowledged that there’s more work to be done across the industry, “In an economy where competition is on a global scale, it is increasingly challenging especially for small to medium sized farms to have the prospect of long-term success. Many farms face decreasing margins and increasing risks and it is becoming more and more difficult to ensure decent jobs for farmworkers and sustained livelihood for farmers. To make sure that agriculture is still a viable option for farmers and workers, and ultimately to ensure that farmers across the world can continue to produce the food we all eat, food supply chain actors and global institutions need to come together to design a stable future for farms around the globe.”
is a global membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains. Sedex operates a collaborative online platform that allows over 50,000 members to collect and share responsible sourcing data and identify and manage risks in their supply chain. Sedex’s collaborative approach allows buyers and suppliers to share and exchange data, helping to better manage responsible sourcing in their supply chain to help protect people’s working conditions and their environment. Sedex tools and services are used in 180 countries across 35 industry sectors, including food, agriculture, clothing and apparel, financial services and chemicals. Sedex has offices located in London, Santiago, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo and is also home to SMETA
(Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit), one of the most widely used social audit methodologies in the world.