Linking human rights policy and process at Nordic Fruit

A joint sweet potato project between DanChurchAid and a local Ugandan company has helped Nordic Fruit’s policies and processes become sharper and more applicable.

Nordic Fruit’s desire to act responsibly and create positive change was the driving force behind the project between a local potato farmer in Uganda, DanChurchAid and fruit and vegetable importer Nordic Fruit. The project has been a steep learning curve for Nordic Fruit, where they became acutely aware of the risks hidden in the value chain that are only visible when the human rights goggles are on.

Nordic Fruit found that it is not always enough for suppliers to sign a Code of Conduct. There can still be challenges with basic labor rights such as payment of wages, hiring, firing and the right to organize. That’s why Nordic Fruit has become much better at addressing and managing these challenges themselves in recent years.

The lessons learned from mapping risks in this project have now been applied throughout the business. Both in terms of formal policies and processes, but also in general supplier selection and ongoing supplier dialog on other commodities, such as the import of avocados.

Benefits for people

  • Stable jobs: The partnership has helped create over 2,000 jobs with secure income and decent working conditions. Less physical wear and tear.
  • Employees at the factory gain knowledge on how to take good care of themselves
  • Opportunities for education. Because Nordic Fruit helps to ensure decent wages and working conditions, employees are given the opportunity to send their children to school. This respects the right to education and reduces the risk of extreme poverty and child labor.

Nordic Fruit on the business benefits of working with human rights

“Grocery retailers and other customers are increasingly focusing on responsibility, so it’s a huge business incentive. Our CSR work is structured and formalized. For example, we always visit a supplier before we do business together, otherwise there are too many pitfalls. Our customers know this, and that’s why they trust us.”

Torben Lyngholm Ullergaard, Director, Nordic Fruit