The Spanish Ethical Trade Forums (the Forums) are deeply saddened to learn about the conclusions related to our initiative of the report published by Ethical Consumer (EC) last Friday March 31st, 2023, the same day we were delivering an event in Almeria which main theme was “Adequate Wage & Social Benefits and strategies for its implementation”.
Every worker has the right to enjoy decent working conditions with freedom, equality, safety, and dignity. We agree with the EC that it is not acceptable that the issues described in their report continue to exist within a subset of our industry. We also welcome the public call for change, and in alignment with the EC we keep recommending that solutions are identified taking into consideration the systemic nature of the problem and putting workers at the center.
Whilst conditions definitely need to change, there is a number of companies that, through the Forums, are committed to improve the labour and living conditions, not only of their own workers, who in many occasions participate in our activities, but of all the rest at the sector.
The Ethical Trade Forums is a multistakeholder initiative that officially started in 2015 with the participation of some retailers, importers and producers and a small group of their stakeholders and that grew year after year until it became an initiative that today includes trade unions, CSO, workers representatives, universities, public administration representatives such as labour inspectors, growers’ associations and companies and cooperatives in the supply chain of 10 retailers.
We raise awareness about the issues farm and packhouse workers face and provide practical guidance and support to growers, cooperatives and exporters to implement good labour and monitoring practices. As the report says we are a voluntary organisation which achieve its aims through the commitment of its members and the organizations we aim to influence and support.
We work to move the sector to a positive change and we firmly believe that dialogue between different stakeholders to build trust will bring the needed transparency to solve issues in a collaborative way, where each stakeholder, including the Forums, will play its role. For us, this is the path to change mindsets and address root causes in a sustainable way.