2020 has been a challenging year. Among many other issues thrown into stark relief by the COVID-19 pandemic, people have woken up to the vulnerability of our food supply chains.
From empty supermarket shelves to migrant food workers being turned away as borders closed, the pandemic has raised important and timely questions about how we can plan for a secure food future. As the the leading global business association for open and sustainable trade, with over 500 members operating in the food and agriculture sector, this is an issue close to our heart.
Vulnerable Workers in Agricultural Supply Chains
Modern supply chains are long and complex – we know this better than anyone. Our amfori BSCI and amfori BEPI tools are designed to help businesses to map their supply chains and tackle any social or environmental issues that they find.
Workers in the early stages of a supply chain, for example on farms, can be particularly vulnerable to mistreatment and unfair employment practices. As we outlined in our recent report, Social Hotspots in the Aquaculture Industry, people working in this sector can face forced labour, child labour and human trafficking.
That is why we have developed specially adapted operational Health and Safety and Responsible Recruitment training for seafood producers. We also produced an adapted amfori BSCI guideline for auditors who are visiting seafood processing units. Lastly, we are continuing our collaboration with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and are engaged in a dialogue with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
A More Resilient Supply Chain for the Future
Now, more than ever, we must value these food heroes who produce, plant, harvest, fish or transport the food we eat. We must ensure that these workers are protected and their rights are upheld.
As well as the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has seen unprecedented wildfires around the world, crops lost to floods, fires and other disasters. The dangers of climate change are being felt more strongly every year. By creating sustainable, robust, transparent food supply chains we will be better planned for whatever the future brings.
If you want to learn more about transparency in food supply chains, you can watch our webinar, From Farm to Fork Transparency Recipes from the Food Sector