28 May 2013

Dole to ditch ethical choice label

6:48 pm on 28 May 2013

Banana importer Dole says it will stop using its ethical choice sticker following a report alleging its plantation in the Philippines hires underage workers.

International aid agency Oxfam has released a report that says children aged 15 years and under are working eight to 12 hour days in plantations in the Philippines.

It says there are cases of workers not receiving the benefits they are entitled to, being harassed for joining a union and that aerial spraying is conducted while workers are on the plantations.

The report questioned whether bananas produced by Dole can be sold with an ethical choice label.

In a statement on Tuesday, Dole says it will discontinue the use of the label on all of its future shipments to avoid any controversy and distraction to the business.

It says there are many inaccuracies within the report, but it is still going through its findings.

Oxfam New Zealand executive director Barry Coates earlier told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that workers have not been able to form an independent trade union - a right that Dole itself has signed up to.

Mr Coates said one of the reasons Oxfam carried out the research is that the New Zealand's Commerce Commission has said if there is evidence the use of the term ethical choice is misleading it would do something about it.

Dole's bananas are sold in New Zealand.