Carlisle, PA, 2015-7-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold USA today became the first of America’s major grocers to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program, the widely-acclaimed partnership to improve the lives of the country’s farmworkers. Ahold USA is the parent company ofStop & Shop, Giant Food of Landover, Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Martin’s and online grocerPeapod. With nearly 780 supermarkets across 14 states and the District of Columbia and 50 million customers each month, Ahold USA companies together represent one of the largest food retailing groups in the country.
The CIW was awarded a Presidential Medal earlier this year for its groundbreaking work in social responsibility, and its Fair Food Program – called “one of the great human rights success stories of our day” in the Washington Post – protects the rights of tens of thousands of workers on farms across the east coast, from Florida to New Jersey.
Today’s announcement builds on the work that the CIW as well as Ahold USA and its suppliers have done to deliver responsibly sourced tomatoes to customers and to help improve conditions for farmworkers in Florida. Ninety percent of tomatoes produced in the United States from November to May are grown in the state. Ahold USA’s support for the Fair Food Program will extend the retailer’s long track record on responsible product sourcing and strengthen the reach, impact and visibility of the CIW’s social responsibility efforts. Ahold USA’s participation in the program will increase the number of U.S. grocery stores carrying Fair Food tomatoes by approximately 75 percent.
“We are truly proud to welcome Ahold USA into the Fair Food Program and excited about the opportunity to work with an industry leader like Ahold,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. “Ahold USA is the first of the country’s major grocers to join the program and, as such, not only will its partnership help propel to new heights our efforts to protect farmworkers’ rights, but we believe its market leadership will send an invaluable message to the rest of the grocery industry that social responsibility is greatly strengthened when workers, suppliers and retailers work together toward a more modern, more humane agricultural industry.”
James McCann, Chief Operating Officer of Ahold USA, said, “Ahold USA’s companies are deeply committed to responsible practices throughout their operations and to providing customers with great products at great prices from suppliers who share our dedication to strong ethical standards and fair treatment for workers. The cornerstone of this commitment is the Ahold Standards of Engagement, which commit our companies’ suppliers to these values. The Fair Food Program is a time-tested leader in improving the lives of agricultural workers, and we have observed the Program’s success over the past several years. Our companies and our customers care about the welfare of workers in our supply chain, and we believe now is the right time to begin an important new chapter in our partnership with the CIW.”
As part of this partnership, Ahold USA’s companies will:
- Continue to purchase Florida tomatoes only from growers who participate in the CIW’s Fair Food Program, and expand the Fair Food Program’s standards to farms of participating growers in other states;
- Work with the CIW to ensure timely, periodic inspections and audits of the participating farms that supply Ahold USA’s companies;
- Pay a premium on tomatoes purchased from participating growers that growers will pass on to field workers;
- Provide additional financial support for the Fair Food Standards Council, CIW’s partner in monitoring compliance by participating growers with the Fair Food Program standards; and
- Support the Fair Food Program with expanded marketing and advertising, including in-store displays, online visibility and education materials for associates at Ahold USA companies.
About the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Based in Florida, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence at work. The CIW launched the Fair Food Program (FFP) in 2010. The FFP combines an extensive, on-the-farm worker education program with a unique set of labor standards and rigorous, market-based enforcement mechanisms to create the most advanced program of its kind in US agriculture. To learn more about the CIW, please visitwww.ciw-online.org. To learn more about the FFP, please visit www.fairfoodprogram.org.