In September of last year, Fairfood International launched a campaign towards the soon-to-be second largest snack food company in the world, Diamond Foods, demanding transparency concerning the risk of child labour in their supply chain. The company recently published a declaration on their website in response to a new law, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. In compliance with this new “sunshine” law, the owner of Emerald Nuts publicly addressed the transparency concerns expressed by our campaign and over 16,000 consumers who signed a petition in our Wake Up! Emerald Nuts campaign.
The campaign asked Diamond Foods for public transparency about the risks of child labour in Emerald Nuts cashews. Clearly, your strong voice in our Wake Up! Emerald Nuts campaign has had a tangible impact on the corporate giant, helping to motivate the company to open up and begin to take responsibility for its supply chain. This is a bright example of how increased transparency can be a gateway to sustainability; the first critical step in tackling corporate social responsibility challenges.
Effective January 1, 2012, the new law requires certain companies doing business in California to make public disclosure regarding what steps (if any) the company is taking to address human rights concerns, such as child labour, throughout its global supply chain. Although a public statement is required to be published on corporate websites, the law does not mandate the implementation of any new measures or controls to address such supply chain issues. Surprisingly Diamond Foods, a notoriously opaque company, appears to have taken it a step further, proclaiming that it “takes responsibility” and has processes in place to “maintain high standards in the ethical sourcing of commodities and materials associated with the manufacturing of [its] products”.
Moreover, the disclosure revealed the company’s apparent commitment to move beyond mere compliance with the law by “implementing an annual certification process for suppliers showing their compliance with all applicable laws preventing the employment or benefit from child or forced labor.” In order to ensure that such a certification system will meet international best practices, more details still need to be disclosed, such as whether the certification will include independent auditing and supplier compliance with international laws like the ILO Minimum Age Convention (C138, 1973).
Now that the gateway is open, we look forward to meeting with Diamond Foods to present the petition signatures and discuss the concrete steps the company will make to ensure the successful implementation of a credible certification system for protecting against child labour throughout its global supply chain. For Diamond Foods, the journey towards sustainability and responsible sourcing may be just beginning, but at least there’s a ray of hope.< Back