On International Women’s Day, Fyffes is pleased to announce a new target to reinforce its commitment to gender equality: Fyffes aims to have 100% of its owned sites in Latin America benefitting from Gender Equality Programs by 2025, as well as 50% of its suppliers by 2030.
Global agricultural supply chains are a major employer of women, yet many of them often face significant gender inequalities on a regular basis, such as a lower status at home and in the workplace, harassment, violence, and discrimination. A key goal of Fyffes sustainability strategy is to create a more inclusive workplace with women as equal partners with men.
In 2019, in line with Fyffes Enriching People’s Lives sustainability pillar, Fyffes established its first Gender Equality Program to address gender-related challenges at its melon farms in Honduras and pineapple operation in Costa Rica. The program was developed in partnership with The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and BSR and was delivered by our local partners AED (Asociación Empresarial para el Desarrollo) and FUNDAHRSE (Fundación Hondureña de Responsabilidad Social Empresarial).
“Gender inequality, discrimination, and gender-based violence risks are widespread in Latin America,” said Margaux Yost, Manager at BSR. “Fyffes proactively recognized such risks and identified gender as a key priority within its sustainability strategy to improve the working conditions of its employees and the communities surrounding its farms. BSR was pleased to leverage its experience with our HERproject initiative to help Fyffes establish its first Gender Equality Program, which will give Fyffes employees the tools and platform to overcome some of those challenges.”
Today we are announcing the expansion of the program, in collaboration with retailer Lidl GB and our long-standing partner IDH – who have supported the project both financially and conceptually from the beginning. Fyffes will launch HERessentials, a new digital gender empowerment program created by BSR’s HERProject™, which will allow Fyffes to scale up its already successful Gender Equality Program and reach more workers across Fyffes farms.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been challenging for our workers,” said Stella Davis, Fyffes Sustainability Manager. “We are aware that women have been disproportionately affected economically and that the pandemic has meant additional stress and uncertainty for families in terms of budgeting, family planning, and health care, among other household responsibilities. We want to empower all our workers to improve their communications skills and tackle serious issues like domestic violence which has spiked during the pandemic all over the world. That’s why we are thrilled to be able to offer all our workers – male, female, and managers – the opportunity to complete the HERessentials program, which provides the tools to be more resilient during these difficult times.”
Amali Bunter, Head of Responsible Sourcing and Ethical Trade at Lidl GB said, “We operate with a fundamental respect for the rights of the people we interact with and are delighted to be partnering with Fyffes on the HERessentials program to promote gender equality. It’s a sad reality that women remain more vulnerable to human rights violations which is why as an organization we are taking several steps to promote gender equality, both within our work force and our wider supply chain. We are proud signatories of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and through this exciting partnership with Fyffes we hope to protect and empower female workers whilst demonstrating a best practice model that can be rolled out more widely in future.
Starting in May of this year, Fyffes will launch the HERessentials digital tool in its Anexco pineapple and Esmeralda banana farms in Costa Rica, subsequently extending it to other Fyffes farms in Costa Rica, followed by Belize by Q3 2021. The program will continue to expand to additional locations until 2030 to reach the established target.
To find out more about Fyffes sustainability practices please visit our website: https://www.fyffes.com/sustainability/vision-goals/
For over 130 years Fyffes has brought choice, tropical produce to countless millions around the world. We achieve the highest quality by nurturing our growers and diligently serving each link in the chain: production, procurement, shipping, ripening, distribution, and marketing.
This approach has earned Fyffes’ leadership across multiple markets, including being the largest banana importer in Europe and the number one offshore importer of melons in North America. Further, becoming part of Sumitomo Corporation in 2017 has advanced our industry leadership in many exciting ways.