International food and drink group Princes has announced significant progress in improving ethical standards throughout its Italian tomato supply chain.
At the end of the 2017 Italian tomato season, 81 percent of farms in its supply chain held either Global Gap GRASP or SA8000 accreditation and 87 percent of all the tomatoes Princes processed came from an accredited source.
Princes has committed to increasing these figures to 100 percent in 2018.
Princes processes in the region of 300,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes annually from its Foggia site, creating a number of products for its Napolina range and retailer own brand, which are then marketed and distributed across Europe.
Global G.A.P is the world’s leading farm assurance standard that ensures good 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.
Princes Corporate Relations Director David McDiarmid said: “We have been actively pursuing and encouraging social sustainability in the tomato supply chain, and urge all European supply chain stakeholders to deepen their understanding of labour issues in Italian agriculture. There needs to be an appreciation of the role each link in the chain – whether retailer, processor or farmer – has in effecting positive change and ensuring a long-term sustainable future for the industry.
“The reported accreditation figures have been possible as a result of capacity building we have undertaken in recent years, such as conducting in field inspections, providing step-by-step training for growers, holding ethical outreach events at our site in Foggia with the support of many of our customers and bodies such as the Ethical Trading Initiative. We are pleased with our progress but are not complacent.
“There are examples of ethical excellence from many of our suppliers, and they act as benchmarks showing the wider industry that there is a constructive and effective approach to labour management that creates value throughout the supply chain. We remain committed to taking action ourselves where we can, but also collaborating with customers and partners on tackling these issues.
“Napolina has been at the heart of Italian style cooking for over 50 years. We are committed to continuing to celebrate its Italian credentials, and ethical practices must be at the forefront of this.”