Fyffes banana farm Esmeralda, in Costa Rica, is the first in the world to receive the new Rainforest Alliance certification, version 2020, which deploys a radically new management system approach to environmental, labour, social and economic risks.
Following many years of successful collaboration, Rainforest Alliance chose Fyffes for the field implementation of its new certification. It includes new concepts such as a gender equality programme at the worker level and the implementation of a salary matrix tool (resulting from a previous joint project). A broader occupational risk assessment mechanism is also introduced, which leads to a comprehensive operations management plan and a clearer business focus towards sustainability, among other objectives.
As indicated by Jakeline Rodriguez, Senior Associate (Fruit Sector) of Rainforest Alliance, they chose to work with Fyffes due to the positive track record with the use of the Rainforest Alliance standard and due to their successful partnership in previous projects, such as the Living Wage project in Belize.
“With this new milestone, Fyffes reaffirms its global leadership strategy in sustainability-related compliance. Our commitment to facilitating the development of progressive, pragmatic and innovative solutions together with sustainability standards is once again demonstrated, and it helps strengthen the trust so demanded by our customers”, says Hugo Hays, Global Director of Compliance and Food Safety at Fyffes.
The new Rainforest Alliance certification standard requires the development of a management system that focuses on the mitigation and elimination of risks, therefore requiring the implementation of preventive and corrective actions. It also requires the standardization of the management system in all farms based on established procedures and controls, and a comprehensive management plan in which all activities around the operation are considered.
In addition, the new standard promotes the prevention and elimination of human rights violations and compliance with national legislation. As an example, it now introduces the issue of gender equality to all farm workers and employees and the development of a broader labour risk assessment mechanism.
Among its positive aspects, the new standard also contributes to creating a differentiation in the commercialization of the product, since it requires shared responsibility agreements between the farm and the buyers that meet Rainforest Alliance’s new Sustainability Differential and Sustainability Investments requirements.
For over 130 years Fyffes has brought a choice of tropical produce to countless millions around the world. We achieve the highest quality by nurturing relationships with our growers, supporting our employees, and diligently serving each link in the chain: production, procurement, shipping, ripening, distribution, and marketing.
This approach has earned Fyffes leadership across multiple markets; today we are the largest importer of Fairtrade certified bananas in the world. We are also one of the largest banana and pineapple importers in Europe and the biggest melon importer in North America. We became part of the Sumitomo Corporation in 2017, advancing our industry leadership in many exciting ways. (www.fyffes.com)