Nutwork, Presents #Shared_Responsibilty, Promoting the Sustainability Journey of Suppliers in the Nuts & Dried Fruit Sector for the INC Sustainability Award

INC Portada (27)

Company/organization and country: Nutwork, Germany

Type of project: Business implementation

SDG(s) relevant to the project: 12, 13, 15

Topic(s): Supply chain transparency and traceability, diversity, equity and inclusion, net zero and scope 3 emissions, child labor, German and European due diligence legislation, sustainability audits, reduce poverty through minimum wage.

Product(s): Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, dates, dried apricots, dried cranberries, dried figs, dried grapes, prunes.

Project end date and duration: 21/03/2023 (2.5 months)

Abstract: Nutwork, located in Hamburg, Germany, is a leading private label supplier of nuts and dried fruits to major retailers in Germany and Europe. Through its vast supplier network in over 60 countries, Nutwork imports more than 34,000 MT each year. Sustainability is a core element of Nutwork’s business model. Our vision is to become the preferred partner of our customers for sustainable nuts and dried fruits. To this end, we published a Supplier Code of Conduct detailing our sustainability expectations towards our suppliers. The Supplier Code of Conduct was shared with suppliers in February 2023.

The core elements of the Nutwork Code of Conduct

1. Protection of human and workers’ rights

  • We do not allow child labor, forced labor or discrimination.
  • We demand the right to freedom of association, the observance of working hours and that at least the minimum wage is paid.
  • Workers should be able to work safely and not put their health at risk, including the responsible use of hazardous chemicals.
  • Indigenous people and local communities need to give their free, informed and prior consent (FPIC).

2. Environmental protection

  • Forests and culturally significant places must not be converted into plantations.
  • Natural water resources should be protected.
  • The burning of plantations is prohibited.

3. Climate protection

  • Suppliers shall take measures to progressively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Suppliers are encouraged to set a GHG reduction target in line with the Paris Agreement of 1.5°.

Nutwork is not the only buyer imposing sustainability requirements on producers and exporters in origin countries. European legislation requires increasing due diligence along the entire supply chain down to the orchard. Upstream suppliers into the EU, often lack understanding for the specific requirements by European legislation leading to confusion and inaction. Even if grievances are identified, it is often not clear how to address or prevent them. It is therefore imperative to sensitize and create awareness for sustainability, better familiarize suppliers with the diverse requirements, generate know-how and demonstrate ways how to switch into action mode! It is important to create a basis for sustainability management and establish an understanding on why it is beneficial to assess human rights, especially working conditions, while reducing negative environmental impacts.

The Webinar Series: As an approach for the industry, we conducted a series of webinars in context with our Code of Conduct. The webinars addressed: 1) Common questions regarding the Supplier Code of Conduct, 2) Requirements by German and European due diligence legislation, 3) How to identify and address child labor, 4) How to become BSCI and SMETA-audited. For the webinar series we collaborated with renowned organizations: Save the Children, The German Helpdesk for Business & Human Rights, Sedex and Amfori.

To reach suppliers worldwide we conducted each webinar at two different times to enable participation around the globe from different time zones. Each webinar lasted about 90 minutes and was recorded and shared with the Nutwork suppliers. The webinar series took place in March.

You can watch the webinars here using the password: Nutwork

“We are aware that we are not a fully sustainable company yet. We are on a journey. This is also why we do not expect our suppliers to be fully sustainable today. But we do expect you to join our journey towards it”, states Justin Kopplin (Nutwork Managing Partner) during the webinar addressing our suppliers.

Outcomes: A total of 116 decision makers, representing 97 suppliers of nuts and dried fruits, attended the first webinar, with almost as many attending the second webinar (95 people / 77 suppliers). To help suppliers better understand sustainability requirements and how to implement them effectively, common questions regarding the Code of Conduct and its practical implementation were answered during the first webinar. Participants were inter alia encouraged to address climate change by measuring their carbon footprint and taking action to reduce it. Awareness was raised on how companies’ actions can have an impact on sustainability. This was supported by a Child Labor Checklist specifically created for Nutwork by Save the Children, which was handed out to all suppliers. It helps suppliers to review their due diligence obligations, identify gaps in their management system and compare their operations against key child labor requirements.

The second webinar focused on sustainability audits as a tool to develop and demonstrate human rights and environmental due diligence. This helps suppliers to gain a competitive advantage in the market. The platforms offer free e-learning, such as Responsible Business & Supply Chain, Environmental Due Diligence and Putting SDGs into Practice. Thus, voluntary audits and platform membership contribute to the establishment of fair and sustainable supply chains and supports the development of the nuts and dried fruit sector.

What makes the Nutwork approach so valuable for the industry? Nutwork supports suppliers and promotes transparency within the nut and dried fruit supply chains through awareness rising and guidance, but also trough offering help and support with sustainability-related challenges and providing access to supply chain mapping platforms such as SEDEX or Amfori. In addition, the webinar recording can also be used for training management, quality management and subcontractors, multiplying sustainability knowledge within the nut and dried fruit industry.

Relevance for the Sustainable Development Goals: Nutwork’s sustainability goals are aligned with the SDGs. The requirements set out in the Code of Conduct aim to ensure that suppliers who comply with the Code of Conduct contribute to the SDGs.

The Code of Conduct and the webinar series primarily addressed:

  • SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, through the establishment of sustainability requirements for the entire supply chain;
  • SDG 13 Climate Action, through the requirement to reduce GHG emissions and encouraging suppliers to set themselves a reduction target in-line with the Paris Agreement;
  • SDG 15 Life on Land, because it establishes requirements for sustainable land use and nature protection.

#Shared_Responsibility We cannot achieve sustainability independently. We need the entire nuts and dried fruits industry to join our journey. This is why we want other companies to join in as well.

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