Ethical supply chain


Ethical supply chain

Our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

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SDG target 8.7 Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and achieve the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms

SDG target 8.8 Protect labor rights and promote a safe and secure work environment for all workers, including migrant workers, particularly migrant women, and those in precarious employment

SDG target 2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, help maintain ecosystems, strengthen adaptive capacity to climate change, extreme weather, drought, floods, and other disasters, and progressively improve land and soil quality

SDG target 12.8 By 2030 ensure that people worldwide receive relevant and awareness-raising information for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

Ethical supply chain

We make direct agreements with farmers and recognize fair compensation for peasant labor: a short supply chain based on authentic relationships. Since 2011, we have eliminated the role of commercial brokers by building an innovative supply chain model, against all exploitation of labor. Today, we network with producers in Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Molise and Tuscany by signing and specific contracts each year and monitoring against the commitments contained therein. Our tomato is 100% Italian.

The fair price of tomatoes is agreed with farmers well in advance, giving them advances of 20% to support planting and crop management investments, and is generally higher than the contract price. A pact for quality and for the protection of labor in the fields, enshrined in strict production specifications that promote good practices, such as the use of machinery during harvesting and the use of contracted labor to effectively combat caporalato.

Ours is therefore a social way of doing business that focuses on valuing people and territories, redistributing the value generated and denouncing unbalanced distribution dynamics that crush the weakest links in the supply chain and diminish the dignity of labor. A virtuous supply chain that is committed to enforcing social-ethical principles and spreading them throughout the supply chain.

From our suppliers we mainly buy tomato and primary packaging. Primary packaging is divided into:

  • Aluminum/tinplate cans, sourced from suppliers in Campania;
  • Capsules and glass bottles. Until 2021, we were sourcing from suppliers in Campania and Lazio, but with the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2022, we began sourcing from Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, and, to a lesser extent, Italy as, due to extremely high energy costs, production came to a halt;
  • Labels, used on primary packaging, from FCS-certified suppliers.

The close relationship we establish with our suppliers is also substantiated in verification activities at the farms. ICAB does not offer technical assistance, which is carried out by the technicians on the farms, but is limited to an audit of the activities starting from the Specification of Integrated Production. This is the main reference point for tomato production in Central and Southern Italy, as well as an operational tool drawn up by Central and Southern producers for our company's use that constitutes guidelines for all farmers through sharing and training on the principles contained therein.

Verification activities with visits are carried out at least four times during the production cycle. A record is kept of all activities by means of an Excel checklist in which evidence gathered by agronomists during field inspections is captured. The checklist, which includes the indispensable aspects of the Specification and the Supply Chain Agreement, is essential for verifying farmers' compliance with the requirements of the Specification, as well as being a good tool for keeping track of quality aspects related to the product and for verifying the level of compliance and maturity with respect to certain environmental requirements. The forms also report judgments of compliance with contractual requirements, such as evidence related to the presence of documents that farmers are required to hold, such as DVR certificates or pesticide patents.

The Integrated Production Specification was created by the will of most of the Producer Organizations recognized by MIPAAF operating in central and southern Italy, and ANICAV, in order to reconcile the interests of agricultural producers and the industrial side, while ensuring environmental protection and the health and safety of the final consumer. Integrated agriculture, also known as integrated production, is an agricultural system of production with a low environmental impact that involves the coordinated and rational use of different factors of production in order to minimize the use of technical means that may have a negative impact on the environment and/or consumer health. With this production method, priority is given to ecologically safer cultivation techniques by limiting the use of synthetic chemicals in order to increase safety for the environment and human health.

The Integrated Production Regulations are very broad in terms of "scope"; there are a number of dimensions in them, not only of an agronomic nature with related cultivation techniques, but also of an ethical-social and health and safety nature. More specifically, there is content devoted to pest management and chemical weed control, with pages on each individual pathogen and its most appropriate means of control, as well as key information on the proper use of plant protection products and waste disposal. A section was also added in 2022 on sustainability aspects for protecting biodiversity and maintaining the natural agro-ecosystem (through, for example, reducing water consumption through drip irrigation systems or reducing the use of fertilizers and manure). The principles contained within the Specification are in accordance with the principles for Sustainable Agriculture enshrined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and referred to in the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

There is also a section on the pesticides that can be used; when the tomatoes reach our plants, a pesticide check is done to verify that they are indeed consistent with the requirements therein. The Integrated Production Regulations allow the limited use of active ingredients of pesticides with respect to the law (less 30% than those that can be used according to the law for tomatoes). In addition, ICAB, according to the requirements of the Discipline, uses a number of plant protection products in a reduced amount of 70% compared to the limits authorized by the Ministry of Health for the tomato crop, so as to minimize impacts on biodiversity.

The soundness of our "supply chain pact" with raw material producers is thus guaranteed by multiple documents:

  • Integrated Production Specifications;
  • "Supply Chain Agreement" Contract
  • Annex to the contract "Supply Chain Agreement, Which has further stringent requirements

With this set of documents and, according to the standards ISO 22005 related to Supply Chain Traceability. e UNI 11233 related to Integrated Production Systems., ICAB has set a number of goals, including:

  • Ensuring the cultivation of tomatoes exclusively on Italian soil on farms adhering to the traced supply chain;
  • Enable the identification of all actors involved in the supply chain;
  • Implement a system of controls on both materials and raw materials and finished products;
  • Ensure identification of product batches;
  • Enter products grown according to integrated production farming techniques.

According to the Contract, farmers undertake to cultivate according to integrated production agricultural techniques in accordance with the Specification, not to use GMOs, to comply with the guidelines for assessing the risk of chemical contamination of processing tomatoes grown in the provinces of Naples and Caserta, to practice mechanical harvesting of tomatoes, and to comply with occupational health and safety regulations, national collective labor agreements, and labor agreements for immigrants.

With regard to social-ethical principles, the manufacturer is committed to the principles established by the International Labor Organization (ILO), in particular to:

  • Not to make use of child, forced or compulsory labor;
  • Guarantee the right for workers to affiliate into organizations and to have such representative organizations recognized for collective bargaining purposes;
  • Promote equality in opportunities and treatment in contracting and reject any kind of discrimination;
  • Comply with the working hours stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement;
  • Fulfilling all contribution and social security obligations.

ICAB also recognizes a bonus to those farms that implement the best techniques to protect the environment and water resources, amounting to €0.30/ton of net product sent for processing.

Under the Annex to the Supply Chain Agreement, in addition to allowing access to technicians to perform internal audits and monitoring activities, making available documentation proving product traceability, and allowing ICAB staff to take MP samples for chemical analysis to ensure compliance with product wholesomeness requirements and compliance with applicable standards, farmers commit to additional environmental and social requirements.

Regarding environmental criteria, farms are required to:

  • Adopt specific fertilization techniques and to forward soil and irrigation water analysis and fertilization plan to ICAB
  • Provide for the proper sorting and proper disposal of waste from pesticides
  • Subject pesticide dispensing machinery to periodic maintenance
  • Treat pesticides only if personnel have a valid patent.

With reference to social criteria, in addition to complying with the requirements already stipulated in the Contract, farmers are required to observe the human and labor rights enshrined in the main Treaties in force, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the ILO Convention and the OECD Guidelines. To this end, suppliers make themselves available for inspection visits by ICAB staff to verify compliance with ethical-social requirements and to submit, upon request, documentation such as DVRs, certificates of training courses, payrolls with relevant proofs of payment, and records of medical examinations conducted.

For the purpose of greater alignment with our policies, we guarantee farmers a training and education session on the following topics: Blockchain, ISO 22005 "Chain Traceability" standard, UNI 11233 "Integrated Production" standard, Rules for proper management of the Quaderno di Campagna, compliance with ethical-social and environmental standards, compliance with the Central-Southern Italy Integrated Production Regulations, in which various aspects are touched upon including:

  • Social-ethical aspects, environmental sustainability and irrigation techniques
  • Pesticide selection and methods of use
  • Treatments allowed by the specification
  • Use of healthy, non-GMO propagation material
  • Adoption of agronomic practices that cause unfavorable conditions for harmful organisms
  • Natural products with low environmental impact
  • Uses agricultural techniques with a low environmental impact, favoring agronomic and organic techniques in the context of sustainable agriculture
  • Ecological preservation of the land for the purpose of less impact towards humans and the environment
  • Traceability and field identification
  • Agricultural production within economically acceptable levels. Adoption of agronomic practices that cause unfavorable conditions for harmful organisms

Our activities contribute to the following SDGs: SDG target 8.7SDG target 8.8SDG target 2.4

Traceability and transparency

We ensure the transparency and traceability of our supply chain. In recent years, La Fiammante has in fact accelerated the process of sharing production data with all players in the supply chain, from farmer to consumer, by implementing solutions digital assurance technology-based blockchain public VeChain to tell the true story of the products step by step in a transparent, understandable and immediate way. From the cultivars used, to the areas and methods of cultivation and processing, all data on each product are now verified, recorded and available for online consultation via QrCode on the label through the platform My StoryTM And DNV certified.

There is a claim on the label that indicates that the company has adopted a more stringent limit than the legal standards with respect to the amount of pesticide residues. The claim calls for a substantial reduction in pesticides present (-70%) compared to the statutory threshold. This information is also published in MyStory. This claim is substantiated by analyses and checks carried out by agronomists in the field, who work with farmers to foster their professional growth, promoting good practices to protect health and the environment such as saving water in crops, organic or integrated pest management to cut down the use of fertilizers and pesticides, proper rotation to protect soil fertility.
We have never had any cases of non-compliance related to labeling. In the event of changes in regulations, it is ICAB itself that keeps up to date through subscription to magazines dealing with labeling and through training and refresher courses on any new developments to adapt food labels.

We prefer FSC-certified label suppliers. We work with minimal ground stock, placing orders for just a few labels at a time so as to reduce waste and comply with regulations. For the same purpose, we have also upgraded our labeling machine fleet and send for recycling all paper and cardboard materials that can no longer be used.

To promote sustainable consumption, indications are included on the label regarding packaging disposal, as per the regulations that came into effect in January 2023, as well as an indication that the tomato does not come from the same area but from two or three different areas. The origin of the Italian 100% tomato is indicated without stating the region, with the exception of organic tomatoes from Tuscany.

La Fiammante constantly promotes campaigns for transparency in agribusiness and enables consumers to gain awareness about sustainable consumption with information campaigns aimed at making the information on the label more accessible and clear: most recently, the dissemination on the main social platforms and traditional media of an animated graphic illustrating the correct reading of the production code of passata, to determine whether it is produced #solodapomodorofresco (campaign title) or from reprocessed tomato paste. ICAB collaborates with external agencies on label graphics, with which it has done the most recent redesign, and communication and marketing.

Our activities contribute to the following SDG: SDG target 12.8