Modern day slavery
In the Supply Chain and California Transparency in the Supply Chain Act: Statement of Actions 2022
This is Fyffes fifth Modern Slavery Statement outlining how we manage slavery and human trafficking risks in our own operations and supply chains. This Statement was prepared in accordance with the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015 and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010.
Fyffes is committed to maintaining the highest ethical business standards across its operations and does not tolerate any form of modern slavery or human trafficking. We understand that the risks associated with modern slavery and human trafficking are not static and we continue to adapt our approach to mitigating this risk on an annual basis, as described in our Statement.
Fyffes Business and Supply Chains
Our core products—bananas, pineapples, and melons—are sold around the world. Our global network of operations includes more than 16 sourcing countries in the Americas and Africa, 19 ports of loading and 30 ports of discharge, and 18 distribution and ripening centres. Fyffes sources from 15 countries, 12 in Latin America and three in Africa. We own 13 farms in Latin America and have partnerships with over 2,000 suppliers.
With over 8,700 permanent employees and 6,000 temporary workers each year, we aim to build a world-leading company that cares deeply about how our produce is grown, harvested, and transported from farm to table, ensuring a positive commercial, social, and sustainable future. In general, Fyffes directly hires employees and contractors. The UK ripening centres are the only sites where Fyffes requires labour providers for a significant portion of its workforce.
Fyffes has spent over 100 years developing our farms while also building strong relationships with partner growers. This enables our growers to benefit from longer term agreements and pre-agreed prices and it enables Fyffes to invest in quality and support. It’s about confidence and sustainable supply. We work with our partners to internationally recognised codes of practice that focus on worker welfare and environmental sustainability.
Our Policies in Relation to Slavery and Human Trafficking
The Fyffes Principles of Responsible Business Conduct (Fyffes Principles) is a foundational document that provides a clear set of guiding behaviours we expect of our people, our leaders, and all our closest partners and suppliers. This includes the requirement to be vigilant regarding forced or coercive labour, human trafficking, and child labour and to immediately report any suspicious activity. All new employees are furnished with a copy of the Fyffes Principles, which they must sign. The Fyffes Principles also apply to our key consultants who have worked with Fyffes for more than six months and large suppliers with contracts over US$500,000. Any supplier or consultant wishing to work with Fyffes must acknowledge and sign their willingness to abide by our code of conduct, declaring that at all times they will abide by the Fyffes Principles in how they conduct themselves and in the delivery of their work for Fyffes.
Fyffes Global Human Rights Policy sets out our approach to protecting the human rights of all stakeholders, including our employees. It is brought to life through training, internal protocols, and leadership action. This policy also requires Fyffes to undertake regular human rights due diligence.
Fyffes has a Global Child Labour Policy and Remediation Protocol applicable to all Fyffes own and suppliers’ operations. The policy clearly defines child labour, the minimum working age for Fyffes employees, and the definition of hazardous work for young people. In addition, it provides a clear protocol for remediating cases of child labour, including a list of reputable NGOs focusing on child labour by country/region.
Due Diligence Processes in Relation to Slavery and Human Trafficking, Risk Assessment, and Management
Human Rights Due Diligence
Fyffes seeks ways to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to our operations, business relationships, products, or services, including risks related to slavery and human trafficking. We provide for or cooperate through, legitimate processes in the remediation of adverse impacts on human rights when we identify that we may cause or contribute to these impacts. Action plans are established to prevent or mitigate the risks identified through the Fyffes Human Rights Risks Prevention and Mitigation Plan.
In 2019, Fyffes conducted its first-ever Human Rights Impact Assessment. A human rights impact assessment involves identifying, understanding, and assessing potential as well as actual human rights impacts and risks. Businesses should remedy adverse impacts they have ‘caused or contributed to’, and grievance mechanisms should be established for those at risk of being adversely impacted, including workers, communities, consumers, and other rights-holders.
The baseline Assessment was undertaken by an independent human rights expert consultancy using the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework and was published in 2020. This Assessment included an in-depth analysis of five countries in which we operate directly or through suppliers —Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras. The baseline Assessment identified 13 salient human rights risks, which reflect the challenges and realities of where Fyffes does business, but also how Fyffes is managing or mitigating its response to those challenges. Two risk areas relevant to Modern Slavery were identified; ‘child labour’ and ‘migrant workers labour violations and forced labour’ and a third indirectly related area; ‘access to a grievance mechanism’.
Our internal policy also stipulates that we will conduct internal annual HRIAs. In 2020, Fyffes Sustainability team developed a tool to conduct due diligence on human rights risks at the site level. The tool includes a number of questions, which were revised and improved in 2022, to evaluate the systems in place to manage human rights. It also includes a risk prioritisation tool, where each of our 13-salient human rights risks is evaluated against potential scope, scale, remediability/irreversibility, and likelihood as well as the level of current management of the risk by the site. The site-level assessments were completed in March 2023 for all Fyffes owned farms.
The 2021 Assessment was undertaken by Fyffes using a similar framework and methodology to the independent consultancy. As stipulated in our policy, every three years, Fyffes will employ an independent expert consultancy to assess its human rights risks and review its mitigation and management systems to ensure the company is aligned with best practice and is not at risk of bias or complacency. As such, in late 2022, we undertook our second independently assessed Human Rights Impact Assessment, using a third-party human rights expert in order to update previous findings, strengthen understanding of our human rights’ salient issues across our key value chains and geographies and assess and strengthen current level of management.
Additionally, we conducted a more in-depth assessment with site-visits in Colombia and Honduras, and a remote, desk-based assessment in Guatemala to better understand risk profiles and identify opportunities for mitigation and remediation of identified impacts in those specific countries. The assessment in Honduras and Colombia included on-site deep-dive stakeholder consultations. The results of this second HRIA will be ready by early April 2023.
We will review the results of both the external and internal HRIAs and update our Human Rights Risk Prevention and Mitigation Plan. This will help us continue to improve our policies and control systems so they can be strengthened to continue to prevent and mitigate potential risks in addition to taking action where we needed.
The Company reports the results of its Human Rights Impact Assessment annually, providing updates on progress against our Risks Prevention and Mitigation Plan and to communicate the results of its HRIAs as well as to continue to engage with stakeholders to continually improve. Our next Human Rights Report will be published in July 2023.
Audits and Certifications
Our compliance team conducts and participates in internal and third-party ethical and social audits, including Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits (SMETA) throughout a large proportion of our supply chain. Fyffes entire compliance team has been trained in SMETA and applies its methodology in their regular internal audits.
Last year we said that the UK ripening centres are the only sites where Fyffes requires labour providers for a significant portion of its workforce. We also audit the labour providers we work with. Fyffes has developed a Labour Provider Standard, which includes the minimum requirements for labour providers to comply with when supplying labour to Fyffes. It includes business practices, recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, prevention of modern-day slavery, training, selection of staff to work at Fyffes, supply of staff to Fyffes and health and safety.
Fyffes is also the largest supplier of certified Fairtrade bananas in Europe, and we have a significant number of Fairtrade melons distributed in the United States. Fairtrade-certified farms are audited under the Fairtrade standards which incorporate a blend of social, economic, and environmental criteria. The standards contain both core requirements and development requirements aimed at improvements that benefit producers and their communities.
Similarly, Fyffes also produces or buys from a large number of Rainforest Alliance certified farms. Currently, 100% of Fyffes pineapples and bananas produced on our owned farms, and one in two bananas overall, are certified by Rainforest Alliance.
In 2022, there were no forced labour or child labour non-compliances detected by audits on our owned or supplier farms. However, a 15-year-old child was discovered working at one of our supplier farms in Belize by a Fyffes Quality inspector. Although the minimum working age in Belize is 15 years old, Fyffes Child Labor Policy and Remediation Protocol minimum working age is 16 years old. The minor had only been working at this farm for one day and did not come to any harm. The investigation confirmed there was a lack of clear hiring procedure and the supervisor did not respect Fyffes Child Labour Policy and Protocol. Corrective actions included the supervisor facing disciplinary action as well as management re-training on the hiring policy and procedures. In addition, supervisors, workers committee and workers in general received a training on actions to be taken in the event of the discovery of child labour.
Food Supplier Screening and Management
Our Food Supplier Management Procedure outlines the Fyffes ethical sourcing process, including supplier screening prior to the start of a business relationship. In addition, it stipulates the ongoing ethical compliance monitoring for managing our suppliers, comprising regular reviews and audits.
Action Taken to Address Modern Slavery
Fyffes provides for legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, and transparent operational-level grievance mechanisms aligned with UN Guiding Principles criteria as outlined in our Fyffes Principles Grievance Procedures. This enables us to understand and address challenges in our operations and potential dissatisfaction amongst our stakeholders.
Employees who believe improper practices or questionable acts have or will be committed are encouraged to report their concerns through existing grievance mechanisms if they feel comfortable doing so. These mechanisms include contacting their immediate supervisor or line manager, their human resources representative, workers’ representative (where it exists) or making use of the open-door policy at the site.
Fyffes Ethics Committee
Where an employee reasonably believes that reporting a potential breach of the Fyffes Principles cannot be appropriately resolved with any of the mechanisms above, or that s/he might suffer retaliation or require confidentiality, employees should contact any member of the Fyffes Ethics Committee. The Fyffes Ethics Committee includes the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, the Chief Human Resources Officer, the Global Head of Legal and the Global Director of Compliance.
Employees can also choose to use the Fyffes Ethics Hotline, an independently-run, confidential business reporting hotline available to both internal and external stakeholders globally to raise and resolve concerns about behaviour that contradicts the Fyffes Principles.
The Fyffes Ethics Hotline and grievances concerning the Fyffes Principles (including any grievances related to slavery and human trafficking) raised with a manager, human resources representative, line manager, or the Fyffes Ethics Committee are confidential. Complainants using the Fyffes Ethics Hotline who choose to remain anonymous will be provided with a unique identifying code so that the complaint can be assessed and investigated. If a complainant chooses to remain anonymous, it can reduce the speed and effectiveness of subsequent investigations.
Fyffes does not tolerate any form of retaliatory action to be taken against anyone for reporting a concern or cooperating with an investigation. Fyffes will take all steps necessary to protect employees expressing a concern with honesty, but it is a violation of the Fyffes Principles to make, on purpose, a false accusation, lie to investigators, deny, or refuse to cooperate with an investigation related to these Principles, which could lead to disciplinary measures.
The Ethics Committee assesses, investigates, agrees on an action plan, and resolves and reports on those complaints to the Board of Directors and our parent company Sumitomo, as outlined in the Grievance Procedures. The Fyffes Ethics Committee meets quarterly to advance the ethical agenda at Fyffes and on an ad hoc basis to deal with cases raised via any of the channels mentioned above.
Additional internal experts or external advisors will be brought onto the committee as required by the issue raised, provided the complainant gives permission for the complaint to be shared. The role of the Ethics Committee is to make decisions regarding all complaints, including as appropriate assessing them, determining the investigation process, agreeing an action plan to resolve complaints and escalating those complaints to Fyffes Board of Directors or our parent company Sumitomo, as required by our legal commitments and Sumitomo’s Compliance Policy.
The time necessary to handle and resolve complaints may differ depending on the scale, complexity, and geographical origin of a complaint and will be resolved in the quickest possible timeframe, according to the timeline set out in the Grievance Procedures.
Non-conformance Remediation Process
Non-conformance reports from audits are issued to the farm or ripening centres and followed up for closure within 28 days. We work with our own farms and ripening centres or suppliers to resolve the non-conformances, but if any serious non-conformance persists, this is escalated and procurement from that farm can be (and in instances has been) suspended. Such drastic measures seldom happen; non-conformances are usually resolved and the farm in question is back into line within a few days. Fyffes will always first seek a viable remediation strategy with suppliers. In 2022, Fyffes did not suspend or cease sourcing from a supplier for poor compliance performance.
Slavery and human trafficking are a serious infringement to human rights and Fyffes will not tolerate any instances in its supply chain and will take immediate remedial action to mitigate, address and resolve within the shortest possible timeframe. If not promptly and satisfactorily remediated, with assurance of non-recurrence, Fyffes reserves the right to take any further action, including, but not limited to, termination of employment, contractual relationship and/or notification to law enforcement agencies.
Training and Communication on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
Fyffes ensures the Fyffes Principles, the Fyffes Principles Grievance Procedures and the Fyffes Ethics Hotline instructions are provided to all employees when they join the company and communicated annually. Training on these procedures and the Fyffes Ethics Hotline is included in annual compliance training for all.
In February 2022, we launched a new training on our Fyffes Principles, which is given to employees in the form of videos and quizzes. The training includes a statement from our CEO as well as concrete examples.
This training is available to employees without email/desktop computers, including our farm workers.
Fyffes Ethics Hotline instructions are available on all employee communications channels. Instructions and posters are available in the core languages spoken by Fyffes employees; English, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, and German.
In July 2021, we announced our target of 100% of Fyffes workers and supply chain workers to be trained on human rights by 2030; 100% of managers and employees by 2025. In 2022 we developed a Human Rights training in a similar style and format than our Fyffes Principles training and it will be launched to all employees in April 2023. The training includes information for employees to understand better the importance of human rights and how they related to the workplace. The training includes information related to migrant workers, child labour, forced labour, slavery, and human trafficking, amongst others.
Interactive training was also provided to the management, compliance, sustainability, health and safety and human resources teams at all our sites to help them complete their site-level assessments using the human rights site-level due diligence tool. Additional support and capacity-building was provided by our sustainability team to all farms to improve their comprehension of the concepts and tool.
Partnerships and Industry Collaboration
In the UK, Fyffes ripening centres are also Business Partners of Stronger Together and have implemented its guidelines. Staff from the UK Head Office and ripening centres have attended workshops to stay informed of developments in the modern-day slavery sphere.
In Costa Rica, Fyffes is a member of the Red de Empresas Contra el Trabajo Infantil de Costa Rica (Network of Companies Against Child Labour of Costa Rica). The Network’s members pledge to defend and promote the rights of the underage working population; especially, the right to education, health, and development.
In 2021, Fyffes joined the Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET). Members of FNET can access a number of resources to develop a human rights due diligence approach, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the requirements of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act. Resources include the FNET ethical trade risk assessment tool which identifies the human rights risks of ingredients and raw materials and supports companies to prioritise where to focus their resources along their supply chains.
This statement was approved by Fyffes International S.A. on 27 March 2023.
 The UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015 requires organisations with a footprint in the UK to be transparent about their efforts in identifying and eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking in their own operations and supply chains.
 The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 requires large retailers and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose on their websites their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their direct supply chain for tangible goods offered for sale.
 SMETA is an audit methodology, providing a compilation of best practice ethical audit techniques. It is designed to help auditors conduct high quality audits that encompass all aspects of responsible business practice, covering Sedex’s four pillars of Labour, Health and Safety, Environment and Business Ethics.