Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Are Dole bananas really the “Ethical Choice”?

Are Dole bananas really the “Ethical Choice”?

New research highlights the plight of banana workers in the Philippines

Bananas sold by Dole in New Zealand carry a sticker that says “Ethical Choice”. A research report undertaken by Philippines research organisations and released by Oxfam New Zealand today, suggests that the treatment of workers on Dole’s Philippine banana plantations is anything but ethical. These are the plantations that supply bananas for the New Zealand market.

The report, The Labour and Environmental Situation in Philippine Banana Plantations Exporting to New Zealand, documents children 15 years old and under working eight to 12 hours a day, harassment of workers for joining a union, aerial pesticide spraying while workers are on the plantations, and environmental damage.

These are disturbing findings. Oxfam New Zealand has asked Dole to take urgent action to address these issues.

Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, said, “It’s time for Dole to stop making unsupported claims that they are selling ethically produced bananas. This research report shows the opposite – Philippine workers growing Dole bananas are subject to unfair and unhealthy treatment.

“New Zealand consumers deserve better than company greenwashing. We are calling on Dole to drop the ‘Ethical Choice’ label,” he said.

In August 2012 the New Zealand Commerce Commission warned Dole New Zealand that its self-created “Ethical Choice” labels may breach the Fair Trading Act. The competition watchdog said the “Ethical Choice” stickers displayed on Dole's fruit, website and marketing materials may mislead consumers into believing that the company had gained independent third-party verification, and that it was more ethical than its competitors.

“Companies must be able to justify what they say about their products. Misleading claims may be good for company profits, but they are confusing for consumers. There is no quicker way to lose consumer trust,“ said Coates.

Consumers have a powerful choice and voice. When New Zealand shoppers reach for bananas to put in the trolley, they can now choose Fairtrade certified bananas. These are independently verified, so people can be confident they are benefiting farmers and workers, rather than exploiting them.

“This is a critical challenge, not just for companies like Dole, but for the supermarkets that sell their products as well. When customers walk into a store, they deserve the confidence that the products on sale there aren’t harming people on the other side of the world,” said Coates.

Dole has agreed to meet with Oxfam representatives in New Zealand and the Philippines to discuss the issues highlighted in the report.

“We’re please to be engaging positively with Dole about these research findings. It’s vital that workers and the environment are treated with respect both here in New Zealand and globally, and we look forward to improvements in the future.

“However, in the present, Dole should stop using the ‘Ethical Choice’ label and shoppers should keep an eye out for credible independent verification, rather than company claims,” said Coates.

The report The Labour and Environmental Situation in Philippine Banana Plantations Exporting to New Zealand can be downloaded from the Oxfam website here


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news