Man picking strawberries in farm
Guincourt (northern France): strawberries grown in soilless culture under a greenhouse. Strawberry picking. (Photo by: Andia/UIG via Getty Images)

Coles has partnered with three major unions to promote ethical practices and treatment of workers throughout the horticulture supply chain. The move marks a first for the Australian retail sector and falls under the company’s broader commitment to sustainability.

The partnership was signed with Allied Employees Association (SDA), the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU). Named as the Coles Ethical Retail Supply Chain Accord, the agreement seeks to achieve a safe, sustainable, ethical and fair retail supply chain for all workers regardless of their employment status, citizenship or visa status.

“We’re committed to winning together by working with all stakeholders right through the horticulture supply chain to better protect human rights,” said Steve Cain CEO at Coles Group. “By working collaboratively with all stakeholders, we aim to improve human rights not just in our own supply chain, but across the entire horticultural sector that also serves the export, foodservice and food processing sectors.”

As part of the Accord, members of Coles and representatives of the unions will meet regularly to plan collaborative activities and discuss the investigation of complaints.