International food and drink group Princes has announced 100 percent of the tomatoes it processed from its Italian supply chain in 2018 came from farms with independent ethical accreditation.
At the end of the 2018 tomato season, all the tomatoes Princes processed came from a source farm in Puglia that holds either Global GAP GRASP or SA8000 accreditation.
Global GAP is the worldwide standard for agricultural practice and GRASP is a voluntary, ready-to-use module, developed to assess social practices on farms, including workers’ health, safety and welfare, contracts, wages and freedom of representation.
Since 2015, the business has built capacity and awareness in its supply chain, conducting over 4,000 (980 in 2018) in-field inspections of growers and farming cooperatives in its supply chain. Princes also has complete visibility of the movement of tomatoes during the annual harvest traceable through a GPS system installed on its trucks.
The Ethical Trading Initiative, a leading global alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe, awarded Princes full membership status this year as a result of the commitment the company has shown to workers’ rights throughout its supply chain.
Princes processes in the region of 300,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes annually from its Foggia facility, creating a number of products for its Napolina range and retailer own brand, which are then marketed and distributed across Europe.
The majority of these tomatoes are mechanically harvested but unlike other Italian processors Princes does not rely on this as being a guarantee of ethical compliance.
Princes has also recently launched a migrant worker employment scheme. “Lavoro Senza Frontiere” or “Work Without Borders”, intended to secure fulfilling and safe employment opportunities within their factory operation in Foggia for out of work migrants . The scheme has been established in partnership with the charity group Caritas that actively supports the migrant community in Foggia.
Princes Corporate Relations Director David McDiarmid / Managing Director Gianmarco Laviola said: “We are passionate about pursuing and encouraging social sustainability in the tomato supply chain. We have worked hard with our direct suppliers and their growers to reach this 100 percent ethical accreditation goal and improve the lives of workers in our supply chain. We also firmly believe this work enhances the reputation of the Italian tomato industry.
“We hold regular conferences to encourage the tomato supply chain to redefine its ethical standards, and continue to use our voice to urge all European supply chain stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the causes of labour issues in Italian agriculture as well as collaborating on solutions.”