December 1, 2021 (HANOI). The International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office in Vietnam has partnered with the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) Vietnam to conduct activities to promote occupational safety and health (OSH) in the Vietnamese coffee supply chain. The partnership intends to facilitate collaboration between the ILO’s Vision Zero Fund (VZF) project in Vietnam and GCP Vietnam to improve OSH conditions for women and men engaging in coffee cultivation and primary processing. Areas of collaboration will include data collection and research, OSH capacity building for farmers and the dissemination of OSH good practices among GCP members and other coffee supply chain stakeholders. Also, both organizations will work hand in hand to incorporate OSH into ongoing initiatives that promote an increase of sustainably produced coffee.
“As a sector we have a shared responsibility and opportunity to address coffee sustainability. And part of that responsibility is to ensure coffee sustainability includes the well-being of those working in the sector,” said GCP’s Gelkha Buitrago, Director Progams and Corporate Partnerships.
“By working together through partnerships like this, we are better positioned to act with urgency and at scale.“
“I am very pleased that we have been able to formalize this important partnership with the Global Coffee Platform Vietnam” says Ockert Dupper, Global Programme Manager, Vision Zero Fund. “The Vision Zero Fund recognizes that the root causes of occupational safety and health deficits are complex and multifaceted, and cannot be addressed by one actor alone. This is why we implement a model of collective action that draws on the influence and knowledge of all relevant supply chain stakeholders to improve safety and health conditions.”
GCP, as an association uniting members across all segments of the value chain, is uniquely positioned to advance sustainability through collective action. The agreement will allow both initiatives to draw on its respective strengths, knowledge and experience to jointly improve OSH conditions for women and men engaged in coffee cultivation and semi-processing in Vietnam.
Why improve workplace health and safety in coffee production?
According to the ILO, 7,500 people lose their lives due to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions every day all over the world. In terms of fatalities, injuries and work-related diseases, agriculture is one of the most hazardous sectors of economic activity. In addition, the majority of the labour force in agriculture (notably own-account farmers and seasonal workers) are not covered by employment injury insurance, and their limited protection against the consequences of severe work-related accidents and diseases makes them particularly vulnerable.
These findings also hold true for Vietnam. An assessment of OSH hazards and risks conducted by the ILO Vision Zero Fund Vietnam among coffee smallholder farms and coffee processing facilities in Lam Dong province shows that farm workers and workers employed in processing are exposed to multiple hazards and risks that affect their safety and health at work. Those hazards and risks are caused by, among others, the handling of agrochemicals, the carrying of heavy loads, the use of cutting tools and machines, road and transport vehicle conditions, or the physical environment (heat, noise, and dust). In addition, psychosocial hazards and physical exhaustion (working long hours, especially during the coffee harvest season, and volume-dependent salaries) affect workers’ health, well-being and productivity. At the same time, their capacity to cope with the impact of temporary or permanent loss of income, prolonged sickness or disability that result from accidents at work, remains extremely limited.
The partnership between the ILO’s VZF project in Vietnam and GCP Vietnam provides a unique opportunity to address OSH and social protection gaps in the Vietnam coffee supply chain within the context of strengthening farmers’ ability to adopt sustainable cultivation practices and farmers’ resilience in dealing with climate change challenges.
About the partners
ILO’s global Vision Zero Fund initiative, was launched by the Group of Seven (G7) in 2015. It aims to prevent work-related deaths, injuries and diseases in sectors operating in or aspiring to join global supply chains. It is an integral part of the Safety + Health for All Flagship Programme, administered by the ILO’s Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch (LABADMIN/OSH), which seeks to improve the health and safety of workers worldwide. To achieve this goal, it mobilizes government institutions, employers’ organizations, workers’ organizations and other key stakeholders to implement strategic interventions at enterprise, sectoral, national and global level.
Global Coffee Platform is a multi-stakeholder membership association of coffee producers, traders, roasters, retailers, sustainability standards and civil society, governments and donors, united under a common vision to work collectively towards a thriving, sustainable coffee sector for generations to come. GCP Members believe that sustainability is a shared responsibility and seek to enhance farmers’ prosperity with profitability of coffee production, improved livelihoods and well-being, and conservation of nature at globalcoffeeplatform.org. GCP supports public-private Country Platforms and enables its members to advance coffee sustainability through collective action.