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Complaint #009: Certification Complaint
Del Monte Kenya Ltd. – Management Systems

Details of Facility:
-Del Monte Kenya Limited
-Growing, processing and marketing of pineapples and other food products
-Thika, Kenya
-Certified: December 19, 2002
-Certification Body: SGS

Details of Complaint: Element of SA8000 Standard:
Corruption relating to nondisclosure of complaints and complaints procedures Management Systems (clause 9)

Complacency and poor relations with neighboring community

Outside Communication 9.12


Actions Taken:
February 15, 2005: SAI received a complaint from the KHRC (Kenya Human Rights Commission), citing clause 9 in the SA8000 Standard, concerning human rights violations, poor corporate relations between Del Monte and the neighboring community, and the complacency of the company in addressing these issues. The complaint was forwarded to Coop Italia, a Del Monte customer and SA8000 certified company, and to SGS, the certification body.

February 16, 2005: SGS reported that changes in Del Monte’s management and organization made it difficult to address these allegations.

February 23, 2005: SGS updated SAI detailing that the KHRC had invited the certification body to a forum scheduled for January 20, 2005 but the forum was cancelled by the KHRC and no reason was provided to SGS. Moreover, the surveillance audit at the end of 2004 had been postponed to April 2005 due to company organizational changes. The certification had therefore been suspended by SGS on February 14, before the complaint was received by SAI.

An on-site audit was to be conducted after April but before August 14, 2005 in order to end the facility’s suspension.

March 22-24, 2005: SGS conducted a surveillance audit and determined that, based on its audit findings, the suspension could be lifted. The next surveillance audit by SGS was conducted June 27-29, 2005 and a recertification audit was conducted at the facility January 16-20, 2006.

During its audits, SGS identified initiatives that the company had undertaken to address community engagement. The CEO of the company expressed strong support from the company to meet and continue to meet the requirements of the SA 8000 standard and also indicated that all steps would be taken to ensure that relationship with the community improves. Several initiatives toward supporting the local community were being implemented including:
1) Extended support to the local community including allowing the use of its facilities such as the school;
2) Monthly meetings held with the local community;
3) Specific to KHRC, the company had organized a meeting at the Blue Post Hotel in November 2004 with all stakeholders. This meeting was attended by members from KHRC, various NGO’s, company representatives and local community representatives. Points pertaining to water supply, helping the local dispensary, road improvements etc were discussed.

Additionally, SGS did not find specific violations against the requirements of the SA 8000 Standard, though some minor issues were identified and CAR’s were raised.

SGS conducted interviews with Union representatives and individual workers in the day and night shift and no specific issues or violations were indicated.

January 16-20, 2006: During the recertification audit, a meeting was organized with a representative from KHRC. Overall, his opinion was that the company and its management were adopting a positive attitude towards the community. Some concerns were raised with regard to the speed with which the company was undertaking development projects and the KHRC representative felt that communication with the company could be improved and there must be a mechanism to ensure that some response is sent from the company on receipt of communication from organizations like KHRC.

Additionally, the company planned to focus on health and safety and an EHS Manager had been appointed and several training and awareness programs toward ensuring health & safety in the operations had been adopted. Interaction with the Union representatives indicated that there were no major issues, though some concerns were raised about progress being slow in some of the development projects. The plantation union had been reconstituted at the time of the audit and the Union representatives indicated that there was no interference from the management at the time of the Union elections.

No major violations against the requirements of the SA 8000 were identified and interactions with residents of the company villages and also the surrounding community did not indicate any major issues.

Based on the above points that had been identified during successive audits, the SGS auditors felt that the certification could continue as the management demonstrated a willingness to meet the requirements of the SA 8000 standard.

The company was officially recertified March 27, 2006. This complaint was officially closed in August, 2007. The Certification Body has continued to be in contact with the initial complainant throughout the surveillance process at the facility.

 

 
 

 

 
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