Fyffes has partnered with independent experts in its fruit production countries to better understand the needs of its neighbouring communities and collect essential information to support the company’s ongoing human rights and environmental due diligence.
One of Fyffes’ sustainability targets is to ‘ensure that 100% of Fyffes priority communities are engaged in resilient socio-economic community projects’ out of Fyffes’ four community investment areas – nutrition and health, climate change resilience, gender empowerment, and promoting access to education – by 2030, the company outlined in a statement.
Fyffes noted that it has worked with several experts and organisations to anonymously survey over 2,200 participants from communities surrounding its farms in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Honduras, beginning in 2021.
According to the fruit firm, despite the wide range of different locations in Fyffes’ production footprint, some common themes emerged as priority areas for development: community development; access to healthcare and medical facilities; access to healthy, affordable fresh produce; stable employment and better incomes; women’s empowerment and gender equality; access to water; climate change vulnerability; and activities to combat drug addition, alcoholism and violence.
Fyffes highlighted that it has already begun a number of projects that are helping to address these community needs, such as medical brigades in Honduras and Belize, fruit donations to schools and food banks, and infrastructure improvements in schools, to support children’s post-pandemic return thereto, in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras.
The gender equality programme, which Fyffes has begun rolling out in all its Latin American operations, is also now in place, the company added.
Speaking about the survey, Stella Davis, sustainability manager, Fyffes, said, “The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights require companies to understand their role in causing or contributing to human rights impacts.
“The first step to achieving this is to firstly understand how the organisation impacts human beings living and working near or on their operations.
“The insights provided by the communities on what really matters to them informs how we allocate our donation budget. In addition, community needs assessments ensure we anticipate emerging legislation on environmental and human rights due diligence.”