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Princes holds ethics in tomato supply chain conference

8 Nov 2016

The event, the fourth to be held at its Foggia site, actively enforced the position that labour compliance from growers in the supply chain is one of a number of elements that will help to redefine the ethical standards in the industry.

Speakers at the event included the Ethical Trading Initiative Norway, Coop UK and ANICAV (Associazione Nazionale Industriali Conserve Alimentari Vegetali).

At Foggia, Princes Limited and Princes Industrie Alimentari S.r.L (PIA) took the opportunity to reinforce its position on ethical issues in its tomato production supply chain, and urged all parties involved to collaborate in order to deliver lasting change for the workers facing exploitation. Growers were also informed of how any negative perception of the tomato industry from consumers and retailers in Europe could detrimentally impact demand.

In addition to its conferences, PIA has instigated in-field auditing, enhanced contracts with suppliers, mapped out its supply base in order to provide a risk assessment and encouraged tomato growers to attain the Global Gap/GRASP certification, being the mostly recognised accreditation in the sector.

In addition, through its membership of the trade body ANICAV, PIA has proactively called on all members to take similar steps towards tackling any illegal practices in their supply chains.

Giuseppe Vacca, Deputy Managing Director of PIA said: “Princes believe that lasting change in the industry will emerge once there is true collaboration from all participants of the supply chain and the relevant regional and national authorities.

“We are continuously seeking new ways to emphasise and reinforce the credentials of our own supply chain and are eager, through ANICAV, to support the wider industry. We believe that, ultimately, some growers must change the way in which they operate, but this requires the whole supply chain to consider its impact and for relevant regulatory bodies to enforce existing legislation. We fully support such a concerted approach and are committed to the long term success of this industry.”

Emily Pearce, Ethical Trading Officer at Co-op said: “Co-op is pleased to have been working with Princes on its annual ethical outreach event for the past four years. It is a vital forum to engage with the tomato suppliers and learn about the challenges on the ground. We believe that collaboration is key to raising standards, and only by aligning all stakeholders can we work together to find long-term sustainable solutions.”

Ole Henning Sommerfelt of the ETI Norway said: "It is challenging to resolve the issue of exploitation of migrant workers in Italian agriculture, and all stakeholders must play their part.. As such, it is particularly important to facilitate open discussions with the suppliers, as was done in this event."

Princes Industrie Alimentari S.r.L (PIA) was established in 2012 and consists of one of the most modern and efficient tomato processing facilities in Europe, processing up to 300,000 tonnes of raw material annually, supported by the PIA head office in Angri, Salerno. At its seasonal peak, PIA employs up to 1,700 people directly in addition to the substantial employment generated in its supply base.