Fyffes is using International Women’s Day (March 8) to let the world know about its new Global Gender Equality Program. The new leadership programs will begin on two of its melon farms in Honduras and a pineapple farm in Costa Rica.
Gender equality is one of the Dublin, Ireland-based tropical produce importer/distributor's most important strategic sustainability imperatives, according to company officials, who said their program is set up to follow the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for Gender Equality effort.
Fyffes Global Director of Sustainability Julie Cournoyer thanked the company's partners for "supporting what I believe is a very relevant project: Focusing on improving conditions for women both on our farms as well as at home. Fyffes will learn from Costa Rica and Honduras as we continue to implement the program across all Fyffes operations globally by 2021.”
The company says one aim of the program is to identify challenges to equality faced by women both in the workplace and in their communities. Issues vary from region to region, and Fyffes aims to use its findings and involvement in the two countries to advance female equality throughout their supply chain and partner-firm relationships.
To date, the program has conducted independent survey interviews with 90 female and 113 male workers, as well as seven managers in Honduras. In Costa Rica, the program has undertaken interviews with 21 women, 32 men and seven managers.
The survey’s findings have revealed that most workers have a clear understanding of what is not acceptable behavior at work, including sexual harassment, harsh discipline or violence. However, Fyffes’ survey found there is less awareness of the company policies regarding the behaviors and many workers said they would be reticent to challenge these behaviors or make formal complaints.
The program is being funded in part by the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative and conducted in collaboration with Business for Social Responsibility, la Alianza Empresarial para el Desarrollo in Costa Rica and Fundación Hondureña de Responsibilidad Social Empresarial in Honduras.