Input sought on draft charter on labor practices

The Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association are seeking public input on the draft Ethical Charter on responsible labor practices for the global fresh produce and floral supply chains.

The document and the link to respond are available online.

"Our associations now invite all other interested parties to visit their webpage to provide input on several questions, as well as provide any additional perspectives on the Ethical Charter or the associations' work ahead," PMA CEO Cathy Burns said in a news release. Public comments will be accepted through Feb. 20, according to the release.

"Our two associations will be reviewing all comments, and working with the committee to address any major themes and issues identified in the consultation process," United Fresh president and CEO Tom Stenzel said in the release. "We also intend to share a report on major themes identified, although individual comments will remain confidential."

The boards of United Fresh and PMA established a Joint Committee on Responsible Labor Practices last year to address the issue for the industry because of the growing interest of stakeholders in transparency throughout the global supply chain, United Fresh chairman Tony Freytag, senior vice president of marketing for Cashmere, Wash.-based Crunch Pak, said in the release. "The associations are also seeking to proactively support opportunities for harmonization and convergence of positive efforts across the global fresh produce and floral supply chains," Freytag said in the release.

The associations are now inviting members of the industry, other stakeholders and the general public to submit online comments on the draft Ethical Charter, PMA chairman John Oxford, president and CEO, L&M Cos. Inc., Raleigh, N.C., said in the release.

The charter addresses broad labor-related areas including:
  • respect for laws at work;
  • respect for professional conduct; and
  • respect for fundamental principles and rights at work.

The joint committee has been chaired by Brian Kocher of the Castellini Group of Cos. on behalf of United Fresh and Wesley Wilson of Wal-Mart on behalf of PMA. Wilson is serving for Russell Mounce, PMA chair, who took over the co-chair role in October 2016, according to the release.

A full list of committee members and the scope of the committee's work is available in a document posted online.