U.S. grocery chain Hy-Vee has adopted a new seafood supplier code of conduct (SCoC) aimed at upholding human and labor rights.
Hy-Vee aims to partner with seafood suppliers that share its commitment to quality products, environmental responsibility, and fair labor practices, the West Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer said in a press release.
Since its adoption in January 2021, 100 percent of Hy-Vee’s active seafood suppliers have received and signed a copy of the new Seafood SCoC.
“The SCoC was created to ensure that Hy-Vee’s suppliers enforce safe working conditions; that workers in Hy-Vee’s seafood supply chains are treated with respect and dignity; and that seafood harvesting and production processes are legal and transparent,” Hy-Vee said.
The labor expectations set out in the SCoC are aligned with the United Nations Global Compact, the International Labor Organization International Labor Standards, and Verité Responsible Sourcing Tool sample code of conduct provisions for seafood supply chains, among others.
“Hy-Vee is committed to advancing social responsibility in our seafood supply chains, and this new code of conduct is an articulation of our company values and commitments that we believe align with our customers' expectations,” Hy-Vee Vice President of Meat and Seafood Jason Pride said. “This sends a clear message to all our suppliers of the and expectations we have for doing business together.”
Hy-Vee’s supplier social responsibility assessment, conducted in 2020, found many of Hy-Vee’s seafood suppliers already have strong policies and practices in place, according to the company, including human and labor rights codes of conducts, regular human rights risk assessments, and social audits and worker grievance mechanisms.
“Hy-Vee’s goal is to support the important work already being conducted by suppliers and identify opportunities where social responsibility improvements can be made,” the company said.
Hy-Vee employs its own U.S. Department of Commerce lot inspector to ensure the quality, safety, and integrity of the fresh seafood it buys from suppliers. The inspector, stationed on-site at Hy-Vee’s distribution facility in Ankeny, Iowa, routinely checks incoming shipments of fresh and frozen seafood, ensuring that it meets Hy-Vee’s standard, the company said.
Photo courtesy of Hy-Vee