Fyffes has published its second Human Rights Impact Assessment and first Human Rights report, covering the year 2021. The report outlines Fyffes Human Rights Due Diligence approach following the UN Guiding Principles framework. The second Assessment was undertaken by Fyffes using the risk assessment methodology that informed its first Human Rights Impact Assessment, conducted by BSR in 2019 and which included a deep dive in five countries: Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Belize.
Fyffes is the only company in the tropical fresh produce sector to have already conducted two years of in-depth, company-wide human rights due diligence across its operations and supply chain. In addition to the Human Rights Risk Assessment, Fyffes has undertaken two community needs assessments: the company worked with an independent expert NGO to conduct 900 anonymous interviews in 14 communities surrounding Fyffes melon operations in Choluteca, Honduras, and it has just concluded a community needs assessment in Belize involving 132 interviews in eight communities surrounding its farms. This comes at the time when the European Union is currently proposing legislation for companies to conduct mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence.
In the report, Fyffes has overall made progress in its human rights risk mitigation efforts. The original 13 salient human rights risks were reconfirmed as the most relevant during the current Assessment, and Fyffes improved its score for how it manages risks relating to security, child labour, communities’ environment and health, as well as right to livelihood. In one risk area – health and safety – Fyffes has given itself a reduced score. The reduction was due to the introduction of more robust health and safety management practices, providing greater insight into the risks, including the prevalence of road safety issues for employees traveling to and from work.
Speaking about the Human Rights Assessment and Report, Caoimhe Buckley, Fyffes Chief Corporate Affairs Officer said: ‘The key to thorough human rights due diligence is stakeholder engagement and really trying to understand their everyday concerns, and then adapting the company’s approach to those stakeholders and informing our business priorities. Of equal importance to stakeholder engagement is building a strong culture where everyone is unified behind Fyffes values and principles while allowing our differences to thrive. Despite being one of the first, Fyffes is only at the beginning of its human rights due diligence journey, and we are continuing to learn and adapt our approach as we grow our understanding of this important area.”
Julie Cournoyer, Global Director of Sustainability at Fyffes, concluded: “We now have two years’ worth of human rights due diligence undertaken, which has helped inform our sustainability targets and our human rights risks mitigation and action plan. It is satisfying to see the improvements being made across the business to achieve these targets and deliver on our commitments for our people and the communities surrounding our operations and supply chain.”
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.