Ahold Becomes the First American Retail Chain to Join Initiative for Farmworker Pay
IMMOKALEE, FL - Ahold USA has officially become the first of America's major grocers to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) Fair Food Program. The CIW program was created with the intention of improving the lives of the country's farmworkers.
"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,” said James McCann, Chief Operating Officer of Ahold USA. “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."
Awarded a Presidential Medal earlier this year for its work in social responsibility, CIW's Fair Food Program has been called "one of the great human rights success stories of our day," by the Washington Post for its protection of the rights of tens of thousands of workers on farms across the East coast.
Ahold USA's support for the Fair Food Program will extend the retailer’s goal to provide responsible product sourcing, the company says, 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."
As part of this partnership, Ahold USA's companies will:
- Purchase Florida tomatoes only from growers who participate in the CIW's Fair Food Program
- 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
- Support the Fair Food Program with expanded marketing and advertising, including in-store displays, online visibility, and education materials
Ahold USA, with nearly 780 supermarkets across 14 states and the District of Columbia and 50 million customers each month, represents one of the largest food retailing groups in the country.