Alko enhances international cooperation to promote social responsibility in wine production
Alko has signed a collaboration agreement with the IUF and Service Union United PAM aimed at promoting social responsibility and workers’ rights, especially in grape production.
The company aims to promote human rights and humane working conditions in its wine procurement chain and ensure that any problems identified are resolved. The parties to the agreement have a shared concern about workers’ rights, especially in primary production of agricultural commodities.
“Alko is committed to respecting existing international human rights commitments. The collaboration agreement we have signed is concrete proof of how important we consider these rights to be. The collaboration means we are introducing an appeal mechanism of international calibre based on clear roles and sharing of responsibility throughout the procurement chain”, says Alko’s CEO Leena Laitinen.
Collaboration commits to open dialogue
With the collaboration agreement Alko, IUF and PAM commit to exchange information on working conditions in the production of inputs for alcoholic beverages and to four annual meetings. At the meetings the parties to the agreement jointly discuss any problems arising in the alcohol production chain and agree on steps to tackle them.
“This agreement ensures that vineyard workers can report poor working conditions to us via their own local trade union, so that together with Service Union United PAM we can take the necessary steps to rectify them. Workers will now have a real voice in the alcohol production chain”, comments IUF Secretary General Sue Longley.
”International memoranda are often criticised for lacking monitoring mechanisms. But here we have made sure that the points agreed go right down to the practical level”, says PAM President Annika Rönni-Sällinen.
Apart from the collaboration agreement being important for workers in alcohol production, Rönni-Sällinen thinks it is an important pointer for corporate responsibility in other industries.
“The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is currently looking at the feasibility of a national law on corporate responsibility. Alko is now showing an example, but soon it could be binding for all companies”.
Alko is promoting human rights and humane working conditions in its procurement chain together with its suppliers. Open and active stakeholder engagement at all levels of the procurement chain has a key role in the implementation of Alko’s strategy.