For the assessment year 2015-2016, the FLA conducted unannounced independent external monitoring (IEM) and independent external verification (IEV) visits to assess working conditions in Syngenta’s corn supply chain in Thailand between the months of September 2015 and April 2016. Three assessments were conducted, two IEMs in Suphanburi and Lampang, and one IEV in Tak Province. The IEV assessed the progress of Syngenta’s remediation of non-compliances found at the farm level in previous monitoring visits done two years ago (2013) in the same villages.
The methodology adopted to conduct the assessments comprised our main components: (1) visit to Syngenta’s local office, (2) visits to supply chain intermediaries like seed organizers, (3) farm visits, and (4) external stakeholder consultations. FLA external assessors visited a total of 41 small family-run farms, and interviewed a total of 91 workers who were involved in pollination and detasseling activities (30 workers in Lampang, 40 in Pobpra, and 21 in Suphanburi).
The executive summary below summarizes the FLA’s findings for its 2015-16 assessments and the companies’ responses to those findings, and summarizes the progress and remaining gaps in remediation of issues found during previous assessments in 2013 and 2014. While assessors found that supplier awareness of the company prohibition on child labor was higher on the verification visit than the initial assessment, this awareness has not resulted in implementation of procedures to prevent child labor at the farm level. After assessors identified an instance of child labor at the visited farm, they also found that no company policy was in place to govern next steps for rehabilitation of the child worker. Likewise, gaps remain in providing training and information Burmese migrant workers in their own language, while the verification visit did show progress in general in building training programs, development of policies, and establishment of grievance mechanisms.
Detailed reports on each area appear beneath the executive summary.