International Meeting of Ethical Trade Forums in Murcia, June 15, 2023

Jun 20, 2023 | News | 0 comments

Last Thursday, June 15, the International Event of Ethical Trade Forums took place in Murcia, more specifically at the Thalasia Hotel in San Pedro del Pinatar. Said call brought together one hundred and seven attendees and had simultaneous interpreters. The main theme of the meeting brought the idea of strengthening the value chain through workers participation.

The day began at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 5:00 p.m. After the initial registration, Sergio Barberá, director of the Ethical Trade Forums, welcome everybody and proceed to the formal opening of the act. Throughout the morning various interventions took place.

The first presentation was delivered by a retailer and an importer together: on the one hand, Laura Wallaker, from Tesco, and on the other, Marta García, from Keelings International. During it, they encouraged participation and mentioned the importance of collaboration between all the elements that make up the supply chain, naming different outstanding qualities, such as transparency. The following presentation was given by Ella Frankel, from the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), who had the opportunity to update the activities that the ETI initiative was carrying out, highlighting the importance of worker participation through company-civil society dialogue.

Following the updates from the working groups, the Forums launched in Murcia, as they did two days earlier at the Seville event, their grievance management mechanism for the sector, this time counting on its technological partner Ulula through the presentation that carried out by Sergio Barberá together with a representative of Ulula, Alfonso Herias. Sergio began by describing the need to implement a single mechanism valid for all and the advantages of having it implemented by the Forums themselves, and Alfonso explained the operation of the platform that the Forums mechanism will use and encouraged participation with the aim of that, within a year, it would be used by 50 percent of the members of the Forums.

After the motivation session for middle managers led by the Forums Team, Paula Ruipérez, from Grupo el Ciruelo, presented their best practice related to the participation of workers in social action and consisting of donating blood to local banks.

The morning session culminated with a debate in work tables about the importance of the participation of middle managers as a preview of the Panel of experts that took place afterwards and which included the participation of Ella Frankel (ETI), Pedro Peñas (UGT) and Marcos Clar (Vicente Giner). In this panel, each of the panelists proposed different forms of participation, making it clear that the involvement of workers, decision-making and good communication avoids multiple conflicts while saving time to clarify and undo undesirable situations due to lack of good communication.

After lunch and exchange of ideas and networking, Carmen María Sánchez, from La Ñeca S.A.T., presented the first waste collection march that took place in the environment of her company and from which she highlighted the positive impact it had on both the workers as in their families and in the local community itself. Undoubtedly the repercussion of this initiative will mean its repetition in the future.

Subsequently, two workshops were held in parallel: the Leaf Marque workshop, facilitated by Juan Pons and Juan Carlos Belenguer (Q-Cert Spain), and a workshop carried out in coordination with Oxfam represented by Carlos Ruiz. In the first of them it was possible to deal with the novelties that this certificate has recently launched. The second analyzed good practices focused on Health and Safety Committees and preventive activity in companies, working around five different areas (health, safety, CSR, worker well-being and risk reduction).

Aisha Aswani, from Co-op and Miguel Angel Moya, from Frutas Alhambra, closed the day by highlighting the lessons learned, encouraging participation in the working groups and, in general, in future Forum activities; as well as thanking everyone for their presence and wishing them a good trip back home.