Equitable Food Initiative Receives Grant from Walmart Foundation to Promote Responsible Recruitment; Peter O’Driscoll and Gavin Bailey Discuss
WASHINGTON, DC - As more companies look to bolster their operations and their recruitment processes, a key investment has been made into the workforce. Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) announced it has received a new one-year grant of $700,000 from the Walmart Foundation as it looks to promote responsible recruitment and the adoption of the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices amongst produce growers in Mexico.
“EFI deeply appreciates this support from the Walmart Foundation to expand implementation of the principles of the Ethical Charter, and not just because it’s the right thing to do,” said EFI Executive Director Peter O’Driscoll. “We believe that workers who are recruited ethically onto farms with safe and dignified working conditions, and who are given the opportunity to gain skills and credentials, can better meet customer demands and improve supplier performance.”
According to a company release, the new investment supports development of a “continuous improvement ramp” program for growers selling to EFI-certified suppliers; a certification program for labor providers to promote responsible recruitment and contracting; and a pilot initiative to measure quality improvements achieved when ethically recruited workers receive skill-building and credentialing services through their EFI-certified employers.
In addition, the new funding also supports a program to help growers develop the management systems and communication structures needed to implement the principles of the Ethical Charter, and invests in piloting a new certification for labor providers to demonstrate that their workers have not been subjected to recruitment violations.
The grant will measure improvements in produce quality indicators that can be traced to the inclusion of worker voice and competencies in harvesting and production processes, as the release noted.
“We are excited to support EFI's work to scale implementation of the Ethical Charter, strengthen the industry, and improve conditions for agricultural workers," said Gavin Bailey, Senior Manager at Walmart Foundation.
EFI has been fortifying its social assurance program for the past 10 years, embracing the publication of the Ethical Charter in 2018 as a key commitment to bring labor concerns to the same level as food safety.
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