Polarica, a leading supplier of frozen berries and fruits, is taking significant steps to enhance transparency in its operations. This initiative comes as part of Polarica's commitment to sustainability, and it aims to provide stakeholders with a more comprehensive view of the company's efforts to improve the well-being of our service provider’s berry pickers.
Polarica is actively working to improve its relationship with berry pickers, ensuring that fair compensation, working conditions, and well-being are prioritized. This transparency initiative aligns with Polarica's recently launched comprehensive sustainability program, which is dedicated to improving various facets of the business, including social responsibility.
Accommodation and Work Environment
Our accommodation facilities adhere rigorously to all regulatory requirements. The working environment and accommodations are inspected by reputable third-party auditors, including Kiwa, Kommunal, and the municipality's environmental and health inspectors. Any deficiencies identified during these inspections are promptly rectified, underscoring our unwavering commitment to safety and comfort.
Our Service provider keeps a standard workweek of 40 hours, and we get detailed information regarding our service provider’s berry pickers working hours. We recognize the importance of flexibility, allowing pickers to schedule their work hours within the week, bearing in mind the variable nature of weather conditions and the unique work and rest routines of each individual. It is important to note that time spent outside of the accommodation does not necessarily constitute working hours, and the inherent mobility of our workplace presents certain challenges for precise monitoring.
Our service provider’s pickers receive three daily meals. Two meals are delivered to the pickers at work in the forest, while dinner is served at the accommodation. The daily food intake per person includes approximately 1.8 kg of cooked rice, 0.55 kg of meat or fish, 0.35 kg of seasonal fresh vegetables and frozen blends, 2 eggs, along with a variety of Thai spices, sauces, and coconut milk.
To alleviate any burden on our service provider’s pickers, we assume full responsibility for all vehicle and trailer expenses. Our service provider’s vehicles undergo comprehensive inspections, are duly registered, and carry insurance coverage. Additionally, pickers receive separate compensation to offset their estimated fuel costs.
Each of our service provider’s pickers enters into a formal employment contract with their employer in Thailand. These contracts detail matters such as salary, working conditions, and expenses. The picker receives an original copy of the contract, while the employer retains a duplicate for record-keeping purposes.
Minimum Net Income
To promote increased transparency in our industry’s business practices, we will publicly disclose the minimum net income for the first time.
The minimum wage is calculated as follows: 24,110 SEK per month, which totals 48,220 SEK for two months, plus an additional 6,269 SEK for vacation pay, resulting in a total of 54,489 SEK.
Polarica offers subsidies to cover a portion of travel expenses, enhancing the overall net income of berry pickers. While the standard travel budget is set at 78,000 THB, pickers hired by Polarica’s service provider enjoy decreased travel expenses of 65,900 THB. Total expenses include the travel budget, equivalent to 20,723 SEK, along with 17,400 SEK for expenses in Sweden.
The minimum salary guaranteed for a two-month period is 54,489 SEK, and the minimum net income after expenses is 16,366 SEK, with the potential to earn more depending on picking results. The average gross salary in 2023 was over 70,000 SEK.
Cooperation with Authorities
In light of recent developments, the Finnish and Swedish Competition and Consumer Authorities conducted inspections in September, encompassing specific companies within the industry, including Polarica.
These inspections were carried out to investigate potential anti-competitive practices within the market for the purchase and wholesale distribution of Nordic berries. It is imperative to clarify that these inspections are purely investigative measures and do not suggest any unlawful activities on the part of the businesses under examination. Polarica is fully cooperating with the authority's inquiry, providing the necessary information to facilitate a comprehensive and transparent investigation.
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