SAN ANTONIO — All of NatureSweet’s greenhouse-grown tomato brands — Cherubs, Glorys, Constellation, Comets, Twilights and D’Vines — are now Fair Trade Certified.
This means the company meets all Fair Trade standards for worker safety, environmental protection and sustainable livelihood.
NatureSweet said a Fair Trade Premium, which is a percentage of its tomato profits, is allocated to a community development fund that is entirely run by NatureSweet associates.
This certification of all NatureSweet tomato brands follows the company’s partnership with Walmart to launch a pilot program for Fair Trade Certified tomatoes in 2021.
Through its partnership with Walmart, NatureSweet said it has been able to dedicate $2.4 million to the community development fund.
As of now, NatureSweet said more than 2,100 employees have benefited from the fund’s projects. Through expanding its Fair Trade program, the company expects to be able to benefit more than 10,000 agricultural workers.
NatureSweet’s community development fund supports the following projects:
- Dental Cleanings and Services: Prior to the program 70% of associates had not received dental care. However, the program provided associates access to care from dental hygienists and dentists, leading to more than 1,000 associates receiving dental care. The program also includes equipping associates with vouchers so that their family members can also access dental care in their local community.
- Nutrition Counseling and Healthy Food: Dietitians provide nutritional counseling and monthly meal plans in line with healthy eating recommendations. The fund also led to the creation of a food pantry stocked with nutritious food options that associates can easily access.
- Eye Care: 40% of associates and their family members suffered from visual problems and were not able to access eye care. Thanks to the program, associates receive eye exams and glasses free of charge.
“I am grateful for the program because I urgently needed eyeglasses and did not have the resources to pay for them,” said Maria Guadalupe Sepulveda de Leon, a NatureSweet associate. “Thanks to the Fair Trade committee and their support, I was able to obtain them.”
Beyond these three projects, NatureSweet said it also pays its agricultural workers about 40% above median wage in Mexico, invests in literacy and educational opportunities (including a newly launched bachelor’s degree program), and supports their mental health through one-on-one therapy sessions and a three-month program that focuses on human development, parenting, communication, problem-solving, and more.
“Our associates are not only the reason for our success, but they are also the ‘why’ behind what we do,” said Rodolfo Spielmann, president and CEO of NatureSweet. “Our desire is to give our workers the best we can because they earn it, including education and competitive wages. We invite all growers to join in the movement.”
“NatureSweet’s life-changing initiatives are an example of the positive difference one company can make in an entire industry,” said Paul Rice, founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “We are excited about their work and can’t wait to see others join the movement.”