Migrant workers’ rights still an issue: more efforts needed 0

It’s been almost three years since Finnwatch published a report revealing appalling truths about the circumstances in which pineapple juice concentrate is produced in Thailand. The reported findings led to immediate action also in Finland, since the juice concentrates in question were also used in, for instance, S Group’s Rainbow pineapple juice.

Finnwatch’s reporting on inappropriate conduct resulted, amongst other things, in S Group cooperating with Thai partners to more closely investigate what can be done to improve monitoring of social responsibility issues and fulfilment of worker’s rights.

In the autumn of 2013 a team of S Group representatives traveled to Thailand. In addition to visiting factories they also became acquainted with the conditions that migrant workers live in. Click the links to read the blog about the girl from the tuna factory and see the pictures from the visit (in finnish).

Investigator at the center of the scandal

One of the main forces behind Finnwatch’s report, British lawyer Andy Hall, is still in the midst of the scandal surrounding pineapple juice. Natural Fruit, a Thai pineapple juice manufacturer, has launched a libel lawsuit against Hall. Defamation and libel are serious crimes in Thailand. The legal process is not yet finished.

Representatives of S Group’s Retail Business met Andy Hall in Thailand on 7th February. What is the situation for migrant workers now? Have things improved? See the whole discussion here.

Increasing transparency must not be punished

BSCI, a social responsibility network for European companies, have given their support to Andy Hall, stating that the charges against Hall should be dropped. Similarly, S Group’s stance to the legal case is clear.

“The work that Finnwatch does is extremely valuable. In order to increase transparency and openness throughout supply chains, it is necessary that investigations are done and different issues are studied in every detail. We cannot accept that someone is being punished for this kind of work, says Senior Vice President Ilkka Alarotu.

Jari Simolin, Senior Vice President of Sourcing, adds that issues raised by non-governmental organizations provide purchasing organizations with a lot of valuable information.

”When products are sourced from distant locations, like the Far East, it is vital to know the whole supply chain including sub-contractors. If you want good results, a long term partnership and dialogue is almost always needed. That way other values than price and quality get the attention they deserve and the preconditions for developing social responsibility aspects are better”, Simolin concludes.

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