The forthcoming berry season is expected to yield a good harvest, provided that the cool weather forecasted in the coming weeks does not significantly reduce the number of pollinators. Sustaining pollinator numbers is crucial to safeguard the potential for a fruitful yield. We, therefore, continue to rely on foreign pickers to ensure the successful harvest of a portion of the berry crop.
Recently, Polarica has received a positive reliability assessment score from the Finnish Employment and Economic Development Office (TE-keskus). As a result, we have extended invitations to Thai pickers for the forthcoming summer season, albeit in significantly reduced numbers compared to last year.
The Polarica Berry Group operates with a commitment to responsible practices across its entire business, including employees, subcontractors, partners, customers, and the environment.
Reforms for the upcoming season
As industry pioneers, we strive to maintain our leading position in the berry sector. Public discourse surrounding industry practices persists, and it is expected that regulatory investigations into the matter will continue until at least the end of this year. We stand ready to collaborate with regulatory bodies in improving berry-picking practices.
We have implemented new measures to ensure favourable harvesting conditions and fair compensation for our berry pickers.
In preparation for the upcoming season, we have undertaken the following initiatives as part of our comprehensive sustainability project launched in 2022:
· We conducted an extensive human rights assessment led by independent experts and published a comprehensive human rights policy
· Provided training to our staff on human rights responsibility and anti-corruption measures
· Developed a sustainability program extending until 2026
· Conducted thorough inspections of accommodation facilities in Finland, overseen by construction professionals, and implemented necessary corrective actions
· Increased pre-harvest training for pickers
· Enhanced on-site presence at camps, with two camp coordinators assigned to both Finland and Sweden
· Established a real-time feedback channel for pickers
· Revised our internal guidelines and subcontractor contracts, now incorporating subcontractor auditing provisions
· Reduced the number of Thai partners in Sweden from two to one
· We have mandated Laatutarha certification for all smaller fruit suppliers in Finland.
Moving forward, we will continue to improve operations in collaboration with our partners. Prior to the season, we will release a sustainability report, and in June, we will launch a new website with detailed information about our activities.