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

ENDS 

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Housing: Affordability Drops 14%, Driven By Auckland Prices

Housing affordability across New Zealand fell 14 percent in the year ending November 2014, with Auckland’s lack of affordability set to reach levels it hit during the height of the global financial crisis, according to the latest Massey University Home Affordability Report More>>

ALSO:

The Dry: Fonterra Drops Forecast Milk Volumes By 3.3 Percent

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the worlds largest dairy exporter, reduced its milk volume forecast for the 2014-2015 season by 3.3 per cent due to the impact of dry weather on production in recent weeks. More>>

ALSO:

Strike: Lyttelton Port Workers Vote To Escalate Dispute

Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) at Lyttelton Port today voted to escalate their industrial action. Around 200 RMTU members have been operating an overtime ban since 17 December and today they endorsed a series of full withdrawals of labour at the port. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Falls To 3-Year Low As Investors Favour Greenback

The New Zealand dollar fell to its lowest in more than three years as investors sold euro and bought US dollars, weakening other currencies against the greenback. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news