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Supply Chain
Sustainable Food Trade Association Announces Organic Labor Code of Conduct

Organic standards outline specific criteria for the growing and processing of organic agricultural products related to environmental safety. But at this time they do not include provisions guaranteeing strong labor safeguards.

To provide harmonization for the organic food industry, the Supply Chain Working Group of the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) today announced a draft voluntary “Organic Industry Code of Conduct” that any organic business can adopt and use to provide guidance to their supply chain. Businesses in the organic food trade industry can adopt the code, measure themselves against it and share the information among all customers of that company.

SFTA is putting the draft Organic Code of Conduct out for a three-month stakeholder review process ending April 15, 2013. During this time the entire organic food industry is encouraged to share the Code with their supply chains and respond to SFTA with their feedback.

The Organic Code of Conduct is based on the International Labour Organization’s conventions and mirrors the core elements of many Codes of Conduct for other industries. It aims to be developed through lens of the organic food trade and provide safety and protections to the millions of workers that grow and prepare organic foods. Key provisions include clear standards for workers that protect their rights for Working Hours, Wages and Benefits, and Health and Safety, amongst others. The document also gives details on how the code can be implemented in practice — for instance, employers having policies and procedures for understanding of the code elements.

“One strong Code of Conduct for the entire organic industry reduces the impact of businesses needing to follow different standards for each customer and ensures that everyone is playing on a level playing field with the health and welfare of workers as a top priority, ” says SFTA Executive Director Nate Schlachter.


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