Coles has adopted the Fair Farms program into its ethical sourcing program for suppliers, joining Woolworths and Aldi as the major retailers to adopt the program.
Fair Farms is led by Queensland-based horticulture industry body Growcom, and is focused on fostering fair and responsible employment practices in the Australian horticulture sector by ensuring growers have the tools and information to implement proper employment practices.
National Farmers’ Federation chief executive officer Tony Mahar welcomed the move by Coles.
“The adoption of Fair Farms by Coles demonstrates the value of the program along the supply chain,” Mr Mahar said.
“On-farm, Fair Farms ensures farmers know their obligations and that workers are treated fairly.
“In-store, Fair Farms provides peace of mind to customers that the Australian fruit and vegetables they rely on have been produced in an ethical manner.”
Mr Mahar said a strong workforce was at the heart of Australia’s vibrant horticulture sector.
“Farmers rely on their workers to care for, pick and pack their produce and they take very seriously their obligation to deliver on their duties as fair and responsible employers,” he said.
Mr Mahar said the program would help stamp out worker exploitation by having growers take ownership of the employment practices on their farm.
Fair Farms requires growers to complete appropriate training and certification to demonstrate their compliance to customers and the wider industry.
The program also supports growers with tools and information to implement employment practices that comply with workplace relations laws and industry standards.
They can then demonstrate this compliance to their customers and the industry through a third-party audited certification scheme.