"The welfare of workers within our supply chain is a priority and we expect all suppliers to meet our ethical sourcing code.
Co-op, alongside many other major UK retailers, does purchase fruit, vegetable and salad crops from the Almeria region, and therefore we have a number steps in place to ensure workers are treated fairly and to ensure greater transparency:
• We have established, robust ethical trade monitoring and capacity building programmes in place in the region to tackle issues faced by migrant workers directly. We are also working with our suppliers and with other retailers, to ensure high standards are met. The Co-op requires all our suppliers to meet our Code of Conduct, which is based on the ETI Base Code and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Our suppliers are required to demonstrate compliance against these Codes and to provide evidence of continuous improvement in worker welfare.
• We are committed to greater transparency in our supply chain and earlier this year we published our eight priority human rights focus areas with includes Spain, and as part of our Future of Food ambition we have commitment to share the sites we source from and the human rights risks we face with members and customers by 2020.
• Since 2012, Co-op has played a pivotal role in developing supplier-led regional forums in Spain to drive improvements in working conditions. Equally, since 2015, a large number of UK retailers have funded and supported the Spain Ethical Trade Supplier Forums, which is a coalition of retailers and importers committed to working with growers in Southern Spain to develop and share best practice. Over the last few years, producers in Southern Spain have received training from local authorities, labour inspectors and the International Office for Migration on how to address risks and ensure that labour standards are applied within their own operations and with their labour providers.
• In 2018, the Forums launched three working groups across the key sourcing regions of Murcia, Almeria and Huelva. The Working Groups, which are led by suppliers, focus on regional specific issues such as worker accommodation, transport, recruitment of temporary workers, creating a good worker induction programme, worker committees and traceability of smallholder labour practices. These forums provide a safe space for suppliers to share experiences and good practices, openly discuss challenges and work collaboratively to improve working conditions.
Further information on Co-op’s broader ethical trade programme can be found on our website."