GETTING TO KNOW SOCIAL COMPLIANCE PROGRAM
Fruit and Vegetables
exported to European market must adhere with not only European legislation, it is also essential for exporters to comply with non-legal requirements particularly in areas of social and environmental subjects.
Social compliance is “the way a company looks after the health and safety of employees and its accountability for safe practices” (Thelawdictionary.org, 2019).
Although European fresh produce buyers pay significant attention to fresh produce’s code of conduct in relation to product quality as their number one priority, social compliance is a growing attention. Several areas of social compliance can be referred from working conditions, human rights, work ethics, child labor law enforcement , to the coverage of environmental subject.
Below are examples social compliance programs for fresh produce:
- GLOBAL GAP—GRASP
- SEDEX – SMETA
- Rainforest Alliance /UTZ (as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Network).
- Fairtrade, Fair for Life, etc.
GRASP is the abbreviation for GLOBAL G.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice. GRASP is a subunit of GLOBALG.A.P. GRASP has recently been popular due to easy access in comparison with Fairtrade. Although Fairtrade programs provide extensive social compliance coverage, the costs are high and its requirements are relatively complex.
Based in the UK, Sedex® is a non profit membership association established in exchanging databases between suppliers and buyers. Four key pillars include Labor Standards, Health and Safety, Environment and Business Ethics.
Developed by the Sedex Shareholder Forum, SMETA® provides auditors profound building block to conduct effective quality audits across the four key pillars : Labor Standards, Health and Safety, Environment and Business Ethics.
Social compliance does not only serve as key criteria to enter European market but also ensures the value chain advantages of fresh producers, which will essentially benefit social, physical environment and business in the long run.
To assure fresh produce exporters meet standards of social compliance, it is essential to conduct a social compliance audit.
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