Comment on Swedwatch report  about the sustainability aspects of vegetable cultivation

13 November 2018

Swedwatch has published a report highlighting the sustainability aspects of water supplies and working conditions in vegetable cultivation. The report focuses on the Ica Valley in Peru and how seven Swedish companies who buy vegetables, such as asparagus, from the area deal with these issues. One of these companies is Ewerman, a Greenfood company.

We are in favour of being audited by external auditors like Swedwatch, because it increases our understanding of often complex conditions that we might otherwise have missed and thus helps us to develop our sustainability work, have a positive impact and make a difference.

The Swedwatch report on sustainability issues such as water supplies and working conditions is relevant and important for a number of reasons, one of which being that it helps increase the general understanding of these issues, making it easier to define sustainable development activities.

As described in the report, we visited the Ica Valley in order to get a first-hand view of the conditions it presents. We then carried out an audit of our supplier and met representatives from local organisations and Peru’s national water authority, Autoridad Nacional De Agua (ANA).

We are humbled by and understand the complexity of the situations highlighted in the report, among them the matter of imbalance between the various stakeholders in the Ica Valley, where local inhabitants are heavily dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and survival, and access to water is limited.

We believe in sustainability work that is built on the cooperation of parties who are directly or indirectly involved and expect the report to promote more sustainable development in the Ica Valley. For Greenfood, that means maintaining a close dialogue with our supplier about this complex situation, continued efforts to increase understanding about ways we can contribute to a more sustainable development together with other stakeholders, while simultaneously redistributing some of the burden to more sustainable areas. One thing that has come about as a result of what we learned from the Ica Valley developments is that, in future, we’ll be increasing the number of audits we carry out, both in house and in cooperation with Amfori BSCI.

Effective sustainability work requires a combination of humility and transparency, and we understand that we can always do more. At the same time, we’re confident about our overall sustainability goal of leading the way by dealing with these issues in a way that exceeds relevant statutory requirements in a way that is expected of us as a company, of our employees and of us as a challenger to our major stakeholders.

For more information: Lisa Isakson, Head of Marketing & Communication at Greenfood, +46(0)70-241 14 00, lisa.isakson@greenfood.se