The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and United Fresh Produce Association launched the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices in July of 2018, and the associations are scheduled to host a webinar Dec. 4 to educate companies across the produce and floral supply chains about the Charter and what it means to be an endorser. The webinar is scheduled at 11 a.m. Pacific, noon Mountain, 1 p.m. Central, and 2 p.m. Eastern time. Cathy Burns, CEO of PMA, and Tom Stenzel, President & CEO of United Fresh, will be joined by three panelists whose companies endorsed the Charter: Soren Bjorn, President, Driscoll’s of the Americas; David Marguleas, Executive Vice President, Sun World International, LLC; and Preston Witt, Human Rights Director, Global Sustainability and Compliance for Costco Wholesale.
Through this first webinar, PMA and United Fresh aim to inform participants and future endorsers why the associations launched this collaboration, share the vision of the Charter and how it was developed, and discuss the Charter’s values, goals and principles.
Work on developing the Ethical Charter began in late 2015 when the Boards of PMA and United Fresh formed the Joint Committee on Responsible Labor Practices, which was charged with developing an industrywide framework. This committee of buyers and suppliers incorporated input from association members, expert consultants, key stakeholders and public comments to develop a draft Charter. Brian Kocher, CEO, Castellini Group of Companies co-chaired the committee on behalf of United Fresh, while Russell Mounce, Vice President of Produce and Floral, Sam’s Club co-chaired on behalf of PMA.
“The Ethical Charter webinar will reflect the many positive efforts that already exist to enhance working conditions. The panelists have a wide range of experience and will share their perspectives on the Charter and their approaches to responsible labor practices,” said Stenzel. “We are excited to share the stories of how our industry is positioning their corporate initiatives through use of the Charter. But, there is still progress to be made. We encourage additional companies to endorse the Charter and continue to build upon the hard work being done in compliance with applicable laws in responsible labor practices.”
“Through the leadership of our webinar panelists and the companies they represent, this session will provide more opportunities for industry stakeholders to gain clarity about the role the Charter plays in elevating our pledge to ensure workers throughout the global produce and floral supply chains are treated fairly and humanely with dignity and respect. We currently have nearly 70 corporations as Charter signatories and expect more to join us following the webinar,” said Burns.
Charter endorsers include foodservice and retail companies Albertsons, Costco, Kroger, Sam’s Club, and Wegmans, as well as a number of fresh fruit, vegetable and flower growers and producers. PMA and United Fresh encourage companies throughout the produce and floral supply chains to add their endorsement and join this growing community.