How many of us take the time to think about how your favourite fruit, vegetables and nuts that in your hand or a part of your evening meal? Before you take your first bite or even better, before you choose what or who to buy from, do we think, why am I paying less? Who is footing the actual cost of a measly ten cent savings? I can tell you this adds up and someone who can't afford it, is paying the price for you.
As identified in this joint statement by WHO and the ILO, the recent pandemic only worsens the issue of modern slavery within our supply chains in Australia.
Over the past few years and through working with Australian organisations and our great team of dedicated and passionate corporate social responsibility professionals, I am always spurred on by the corrective actions identified to effect change in Australian organisations utilising local and migrant workers in the horticulture industry in particular.
I am encouraged by the recent upswing in action in this area by our major fruit & vegetable retailers in Australia. We are starting to see a real push as we approach 2021 on a focus on identification and remediation of potential and actual issues of social aspects such as harassment, discrimination, wage theft and human rights violations within the horticulture industry.
This type of action is crucial in identifying issues within the supply chain and does make a very real and positive impact on people's lives and warms my heart to know that change is happening to some of our most vulnerable workers.
Were looking towards our most influential retailers to lead the way and lay a path for other organisations to take. Thankfully real action and change are in the air. We can all start taking a "guilt-free" bite of our favourite apple, if we choose, as consumers to reward those organisations that value the betterment of human rights in Australia by making sure their supply chain is working towards real change and improvement for the victims of modern slavery in Australia.
Change is coming, but you, as a consumer, are the one with the power to ensure this change is everlasting.
Millions of agricultural workers – waged and self-employed – while feeding the world, regularly face high levels of working poverty, malnutrition and poor health, and suffer from a lack of safety and labour protection as well as other types of abuse. With low and irregular incomes and a lack of social support, many of them are spurred to continue working, often in unsafe conditions, thus exposing themselves and their families to additional risks.