Do labor standards benefit workers in horticultural export chains?
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Science citation index
Journal of cleaner production / Masson. - Science citation index
, p. 2392-2406
Private standards are spreading rapidly in international food production and trade, and are moving beyond food quality and safety aspect to address environmental and social concerns. We examine how effective private standards are in improving employment conditions in global food supply chains. Using panel data from own company and worker surveys and different econometric techniques, we analyze how the adoption of a variety of private standards, that differ with respect to their focus on labor, influences employment conditions in production, processing and exporting companies in the horticultural export chain in Peru. We find that workers employed in companies adopting private labor standards are more likely to be paid a minimum wage, to have a contract and to receive training but there is no effect of private standards on the level of the wage and on the employment period. We conclude that labor standards are most effective in reinforcing the respect of national labor laws and when there exists a clear cut definition on the employment requirements they push forward. Despite the existence of labor regulations at the national level and the wide-spread use of private labor standards, ethical labor concerns do remain an issue in the Peruvian horticultural export sector.