For my work at the Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association, I convened and presented at a webinar on “Fair Labor and Equitable Trade: Pathways for Socially Sustainable Supply Chains.” The webinar included a review of the business case and key issues as well as company case studies focused on international and domestic sourcing for agricultural products.
Workers are the heart and soul of a business and our increasingly diversified supply chains. Ensuring good labor practices in agricultural supply chains is an essential responsibility of businesses from farm to retail, and a growing consumer expectation, regardless of whether you’re sourcing directly or not. It also returns benefits including reduced risk, improved reputation and increased purchasing from values-driven customers and consumers. No matter what your business type or size, there are ways to gain a better understanding of supplier practices and ensure positive outcomes. We’ll discuss the business case, key issues (domestic and international) and ways that various businesses can ensure equitable practices, and hear insights and guidance from peers with leading-edge activities in this area. There will be plenty of time for Q&A at the end to address questions and share attendees’ insights.
Melissa Schweisguth (FTSLA): Business Case, Key Issues, Certifications
Ron Strochlic, (Sustainable Food Systems Consultant and Former ED, CA Institute for Rural Studies): Business Case, Domestic Fair Trade
Rodney North (PR/Answer man, Equal Exchange): Company Case Study – International fair trade, domestic fair trade
Jason Freeman (General Manager, Farmer Direct Cooperative): Company Case Study – Domestic Fair Trade/FairDeal certification
- Key issues related to supply chain labor, domestic and international
- Business case for ensuring good labor practices in agricultural supply chains
- Ways to ensure good practices: 3rd party programs and independent initiatives
- 3rd party certifications—what they’re about, when to use them, assessing options
- Guidance for engaging in 3rd party sourcing programs and implementing internal efforts
- How ethical sourcing benefits businesses, suppliers, communities, customers, consumers
- How peers are working with 3rd party certifications to ensure good supplier practices
- How peers are implementing their own supplier programs
- How peers communicate their efforts, and how customers and consumers respond