Whole Foods sets standards for foreign products

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Whole Foods Market has created a buying program — Whole Trade Guarantee — to establish regulations and criteria for products originating from developing countries.

Whole Trade Guarantee will work to ensure product quality, more money for producers, better wages and working conditions for workers, sound environmental production practices promoting biodiversity and a donation of 1% of sales to the Whole Planet Foundation — an organization seeking to help eradicate poverty.

"With our shoppers’ growing concern about ethical and responsible trade and with our company’s increasing scale and scope, the time is right for Whole Foods Market to help make more of an impact," said John Mackey, co-founder and chief executive officer for Whole Foods Market. "We have a long track record concerning ethical business practices, equitable pay for team members and suppliers, safe working environments, and love and respect for all people and the earth. We are extending that concern to the global community by bringing products from developing areas to the marketplace in a way that is a win for the producers and their families, for our shoppers, for the environment, and for the developing world communities where we do business."

The goal of the company is to have more than 50% of imported products from the developing world fall into the Whole Trade Guarantee program within the next 10 years, and the company desires to have all such products meet these standards in the future. The program officially begins in the United States and Canada with the opening of Whole Food Market’s 195th store March 29 in Manhattan.

In order to guarantee the established standards are met, the company’s buyers are working with Rainforest Alliance and TransFair USA — two third-party certifiers.

"Whole Trade Guarantee is a win-win situation for poverty relief because it ensures that producers receive a premium price and marketplace for their goods and, once the products are sold at Whole Foods Market stores, 1% of the retail price will go to the Whole Planet Foundation, which is creating real results in the fight against poverty by providing grants for micro loans for women entrepreneurs," Mr. Mackey said.

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