The Equitable Food Initiative Discusses the Advantages and Benefits of the Responsible Recruitment Scorecard
WASHINGTON, DC - When I think of industries that rest on their laurels, fresh produce does not even grace the periphery of the issue. You can say it is the nature of perishables or the pace of change across fresh today, but I think it has more to do with our values and those that advocate for them. The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) is one such group of advocates. This year, the EFI team is responding to our industry’s commitment to the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices and the desire for shippers to demonstrate to their customers how they are proactively keeping forced labor out of their company’s workforces by relaunching its online Responsible Recruitment Scorecard.
The new interactive version of the scorecard features a digital self-assessment to help growers identify their risk factors in the recruitment process and pursue recommended action steps.
“As the demand for foreign labor rises rapidly, there is a greater likelihood of riskier recruitment practices because the incentives have become: to deliver workers by any means necessary,” Kenton Harmer, Managing Director for EFI, shares. “Regardless of whether these workers are directly employed or are provided by farm labor contractors or foreign-based recruiters, in the eyes of customers, consumers, and regulators, the grower/shipper owns the risk that comes with substandard recruitment practices. This free tool can be used as an internal audit to assess and understand their risk and take steps to mitigate it.”
With new and improved functionalities integrated into the scorecard, EFI hopes to streamline the user experience while allowing operators to perform a self-assessment and uncover risks in their foreign labor hiring and recruitment process.
Here are some of the new features:
- Feedback on risk, actions to take, and relevant EFI Standards are provided after recording an answer for each question. There's no need to finish the tool in one sitting to get the feedback—now users can learn about their risks as they go through the tool
- Questions can be answered in a variety of ways—sequentially, as previously available in the Excel prototype, but also by category (EFI has identified 11 broad categories) and by document. For example, if you'd like to answer questions pertaining to the contract between the grower and farm labor contractor (FLC), you can filter all questions to only those that involve items that would be in that contract
- Store all FLCs in one place to make easy comparisons and connect multiple users in your business to your account for visibility
- Filter completed scorecards by the level of risk to take action on the highest-priority items fast
- Completed scorecards can generate a Certificate of Completion, which signals to EFI auditors that the scorecard requirement in the EFI Ethical Charter Addendum has been completed without revealing scores. This is important for growers in the EFI Program who use the tool because their data remains an internal and trusted source
Check out more on our deep dive into the new Responsible Recruitment Scorecard here.
“After using the previous version and having a test drive of the new version, I found the EFI Responsible Recruitment Scorecard to be a user-friendly, online tool that will help growers or labor providers ask the right questions and implement practical steps to improve their labor supply chain. I especially like how the scorecard lists relevant documents to create or check for and categorizes topics into high, moderate, and low risk,” Matt Rogers, Co-Founder and General Manager, AgSocio. “The Recommended Actions at the end are a helpful summary to plan your next steps.”
When I inquired as to whether the scorecard was strictly for EFI partners, the team shared that the Responsible Recruitment Scorecard is available to anyone at no charge.
“Of course we would love everyone to be on a pathway to EFI certification. However, because the issue of getting recruitment right is critical to the long-term sustainability of the industry, we are making the tool universally available. We received funding from the Walmart Foundation for its development and intended to provide it as a resource to the entire industry,” Kenton adds.
The Scorecard is now available here.
The time to align company and industry values is now. And EFI is here to help, one scorecard at a time.