March 22, 2016

Oppy gains Fair for Life Certification

In an exciting new phase of its commitment to socially responsible fresh produce, Oppy has earned Fair for Life Fair Trade Certification, creating new opportunities for the marketer and its growers and customers.

The Fair for Life-Social & Fair Trade certification program is facilitated by the Institute for Marketecology in Weinfelden, Switzerland, and joins Fair Trade and Rain Forest Alliance Certification among Oppy’s associated social and environmentally focused campaigns.

“Fair for Life examines the entire supply chain, assuring that certified products are handled exclusively by companies that demonstrate ethical working conditions from farm to final delivery,” said Jason Fung, director of category development for Oppy. “It’s another opportunity for us to support producers and service providers who share our values while offering our customers meaningful differentiation.”

Oppy’s Fair for Life certification makes it one of very few North American produce companies licensed to bring Fair for Life labeled products to market. Oppy plans to deliver Fair for Life grapes from Peru next autumn, and is actively seeking to grow its Fair for Life program via new partnerships.

“This certification helps develop our business, but more importantly it helps develop the grower communities that our products come from,” Fung said. “We’re interested in—and intentional about—creating an avenue for more socially responsible fresh produce to reach the market. We’re eager to explore the possibilities, as we believe there are not only economic implications, but also authentic opportunities to improve the quality of life in our growing areas.”

Oppy began its ethical sourcing program over 15 years ago with Fair Trade Certified pineapple from Costa Rica. Oppy partner and Mexican greenhouse leader Divemex became the first-ever Fair Trade Certified sweet bell pepper producer in 2011. Subsequently nearly 1,000 scholarships have been awarded to Divemex workers and their family members from Fair Trade Premiums earned. As well, a new dental clinic was constructed and is now operating in Culiacan, and renovations have been undertaken in local schools—including the construction of a new computer lab.

SunSelect Produce followed suit to become Canada’s first Fair Trade pepper grower in 2014, supporting the communities of its guest workers in Guatemala. As well, Oppy has marketed Rain Forest Alliance grapes and other products over the years

“We are excited to expand on the good work that we have done with our grower partners over the years,” said John Anderson, Oppy chairman, president and CEO. “We also aspire to attract new partners who share our sustainable thinking and conduct by offering them a unique new channel to the marketplace.”

Fung agrees that the opportunities are plentiful on both ends of the supply chain.

“We’re celebrating the prospect of building on this key area of our business while illustrating our commitment to taking care of the people who grow our produce, and the land where it’s produced,” Fung said. “Fair for Life certification enjoys international credibility, and we’re eager to offer everything it represents to the Oppy customer base.”

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