Linking human rights policy and process at Nordic Fruit
A joint sweet potato project between DanChurchAid and a Ugandan company has helped to make Nordic Fruit’s policies and processes sharper and more practical.
Nordic Fruit‘s desire to act responsibly and bring about positive change was the driving force behind the project between a local potato grower in Uganda, DanChurchAid, and fruit and vegetable importer Nordic Fruit. The project has been an eye opener at Nordic Fruit, resulting in keen awareness in the company of risks hidden in the value chain that are only visible when seen through human rights glasses.
Nordic Fruit found that suppliers signing a Code of Conduct is not always sufficient. Challenges may persist with respect to the most basic labour rights, such as payment of wages, hiring practices, dismissals, and the right to organise. Consequently, in recent years, Nordic Fruit has become much better at directly countering and handling such challenges.
The experiences from mapping and tracking risks in this project are now reflected throughout the organisation – in terms of the formal policies and processes, in the general selection of suppliers, and in the ongoing supplier dialogue about other goods, such as importation of avocados.
Benefits for people
- Job stability: The joint project has helped create more than 2.000 jobs with secure income and proper working conditions
- Reduced physical wear and tear: The employees at the factory learn how to take good care of themselves
- Educational opportunities: Employees get opportunities to send their kids to school because Nordic Fruit helps to ensure proper pay and working conditions. This respects the right to education and reduces the risk of extreme poverty and child labour
Nordic Fruit on the business benefits from protecting human rights
“The grocery trade and other customers increasingly focus on accountability, so this is a huge business incentive. Social responsibility is structured and formalised within our organisation. For example, we always visit a supplier before we do business together. Otherwise, there are too many pitfalls. Our customers know this, and that is why they trust us.
Torben Lyngholm Ullergaard, Director, Nordic Fruit