NZGAP Contractor Standard – Coming Soon | 10th November 2020
The NZGAP Contractor Standard has been developed specifically for contractors providing services to NZGAP, Social Practice add-on, GLOBALG.A.P. and GRASP certified growers or supply chain operators. Using NZGAP certified contractors is a means for growers and other supply chain operators to demonstrate the contractors they engage have met the requirements of these standards at both a production and social practice level.
Corporate social responsibility is an increasingly important issue in the global food supply chain, with all players being asked to demonstrate that food is produced in line with internationally agreed labour requirements and relevant national legislation, broadly known as Social Practice. As a result, supermarkets in NZ and overseas are increasingly seeking Social Practice certification in addition to the core GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) Food Safety certification. In New Zealand, horticulture is considered a high-risk industry regarding worker welfare meaning regulators are also supporting Social Practice certification. International legislation such as the Modern Slavery Acts in Australia and the UK are having a knock-on effect on supermarket sourcing policies, resulting in them being required to report on social practices all the way from the grower and contractor level on the ground in New Zealand. This means contractors are also in the scope of Social Practice certification.
NZGAP is launching a Contractor Standard in November to certify contractors independently. This will reduce the burden of growers having to check a contractor’s compliance to Social Practice requirement themselves and enable them to check the status of contractors on the new NZGAP public register for contractors (e.g. registered, approved, suspended, cancelled).
“The NZGAP Contractor Standard has been developed specifically for contractors providing services to NZGAP, Social Practice add-on, GLOBALG.A.P. and GRASP certified growers or supply chain operators. Using NZGAP certified contractors is a means for growers and other supply chain operators to demonstrate the contractors they engage have met the requirements of these standards at both a production and social practice level”
NZGAP certified contractors can demonstrate compliance to multiple growers and horticulture operators to whom they supply services in a credible and transparent way. Certification will be available to a range of contractor types including harvest contractors, agrichemical applicators, fertiliser applicators, packhouse handling and services, pruning and thinning. While growers can complete a due diligence assessment of contractors for inclusion in the scope of their own certification, it is recommended that contractors are independently audited and certified so that they can demonstrate compliance to all of their customers, via one integrated assurance system. NZGAP is also collaborating with Master Contractors and Zespri on implementation of the Contractor Standard to ensure alignment and coordination of an effective assurance system for all contractors operating in the horticulture industry.
Growers are ultimately responsible for the business practices of contractors they use on their properties, including how workers are treated. The common practice of using contractors, especially for seasonal tasks, means that certification is an effective pathway for contractors to demonstrate compliance to growers, and for growers to engage the services of contractors with confidence. Those certified to the NZGAP Contractor Standard will be able to demonstrate that they meet recognised social practice standards such as employment law and ethical standards, but more importantly that they are looking after their most valuable resource – their people.