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

 

Half Full: Dairy Payouts Steady, Cash Will Be Tight

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on strong cashflow management as they look ahead to the 2015-16 season following Fonterra's half-year results announcement today. More>>

ALSO:

First Union: Cotton On Plans To Use “Tea Break” Law

“The Prime Minister reassured New Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break? The answer is absolutely not’... Cotton On is proposing to remove tea and meal breaks for workers in its safety sensitive distribution centre. How long before other major chains try and follow suit?” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ-Korea FTA Signed Amid Spying, Lost Sovereignty Claims

A long-awaited free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea has been signed in Seoul by Prime Minister John Key and the Korean president, Park Geun-hye. More>>

ALSO:

PM Visit: NZ And Viet Nam Agree Ambitious Trade Target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Economy Grows 0.8% In Fourth Quarter

The New Zealand economy expanded in the fourth quarter as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ’s Wheeler Keeps OCR On Hold, No Rate Hikes Ahead

The Reserve Bank has removed the prospect of future interest rate hikes from its forecast horizon as a strong kiwi dollar and cheap oil hold down inflation, and the central bank ponders whether to lower its assessment of where “neutral” interest rates should be. The kiwi dollar gained. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news