This is the report from research Just Kai was commissioned to do, conducted during July 2022. We were tasked to look for companies who were making a substantial effort to protect human rights in their supply chains. This differs from our usual research, where we look for companies with supply chains that are free of both child and slave labour. Not all brands recommended here meet that standard, but those that do not are still making substantial efforts to eliminate serious human rights abuses from their supply chains.

Research conducted with assistance from Neva Thogaru; information on pistachios, macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts added November 2022

Issues of worker safety and inadequate pay, as well as child labour and forced labour are sadly common in many nut industries, as well as the rice and coconut industries. The report below examines this in some depth. If you don’t have time to read that, our key recommendations are as follows.

Brands/products we consider to be free of forced labour and child labour:

  • all almonds, regardless of brand
  • all walnuts, regardless of brand
  • all pistachios, regardless of brand
  • peanuts marked as being from Australia, Argentina or the USA
  • hazelnuts marked as being from New Zealand, Australia or the USA. You can buy NZ ones online here.
  • macadamia nuts marked as being from New Zealand, Australia or the USA
  • all Trade Aid products (in terms of nuts, coconut and rice, they sell cashews, coconut milk, and jasmine rice)
  • everything by East Bali Cashews (snack foods - mostly nuts)
  • everything by Kara (coconut milk, cream, water and oil)
  • Chelsea coconut sugar
  • everything by Blue Coconut (various coconut oil products)
  • Wonder Rose rice
  • coconut products from Raglan Food Co (coconut yoghurts and kefir)
  • Mother Earth bagged peanuts (as well as almonds, pistachios and walnuts) and their plain peanut and almond butters (i.e. those that don’t also include linseeds, chia seeds etc.)
  • Savai’i popo coconut cream (which is Fairtrade certified; they also make a tinned palusami - we’re not sure if that’s Fairtrade certified or not)
  • Alison’s pantry chocolate snacks EXCEPT their coconut rough - you’ll find these in the bulk bins of PakNSave and New World
  • Forty Thieves peanut and almond butters, and their roasted peanuts and almonds

We also think that everything from Fix and Fogg is almost certainly free of forced and child labour. We are confident of their peanuts and of the chocolate that goes into their chocolate peanut butter. We would like to investigate their cashew nut sourcing a bit more before being 100% confident their cashew butter is slave free. Fix and Fogg told us in 2020 that their hazelnuts and cashews were certified by the Fair Labor Association, but we don’t see any mention of the FLA currently certifying cashews (they still do hazelnuts, but Fix and Fogg doesn’t seem to currently use them). We’d like more information on their current cashew supply chain before being 100% confident it’s OK.

Brands/products we consider to be making significant efforts to respect worker rights in their supply chains:

Note that Fairtrade and Trade Aid products do not feature in the report below, but are included on the list above. The people who commissioned our research were already aware of the strong human welfare record of Fairtrade and Trade Aid, so had no need for us to look into those products.

Below is our full report.

Table of Contents

Nuts

Ethical concerns for nuts

Hazelnuts

child labour is widely used in the production of hazelnuts in Turkey.

65% of hazelnuts imported into NZ come from Turkey.

We have found no ethical issues with hazelnuts imported from Australia or the US, or ones grown in New Zealand. New Zealand-grown hazelnuts are available online, for example here.

Cashews

chemicals in the shells of cashews cause serious damage to the hands of workers if they don’t have proper PPE. More info here.

Also, child labour is an issue in many producer countries, especially Brazil, Guinea and Vietnam. The vast majority of cashews imported into NZ come from Vietnam (95%), which is one of these high-risk countries.

Peanuts

New Zealand imports 62% from Australia, and 21% from Argentina, followed by South Africa, China, Brazil, US.

Forced labour is an issue in Bolivia; child labour in Paraguay and Turkey - we don’t import peanuts from any of those countries in significant quantities.

However, one of our significant countries, Brazil, is a place where forced labour is quite common in agriculture. We didn’t find any peanut-specific examples, but that could simply be because peanuts aren’t such a common crop there.

Similarly, child labour is known to be used in agriculture in South Africa although, again, I have no specific peanut examples.

Argentina and Australia seem to be low-risk for severe labour abuses in their peanut industries, so most peanut products will be ethical.

Almonds

New Zealand imports about 96% of our almonds from Australia and the US (source).

The main database we use to look for known cases of serious worker abuse didn’t list any issues for almonds. It’s not fully comprehensive, so we Google searched “almonds labour abuse” and did find that child labour is an issue in India (or, at least, it was more than 10 years ago). NZ almond imports from India, however, are tiny, and it sounded like these almonds were primarily being processed for the local market.

Specifically searching for “worker abuse almond Australia” and “worker abuse almond US”, turned up two cases (Aust, US), but didn’t find anything that felt systemic – also, working conditions in horticulture in Aust, in general, may have improved due to Covid.

We consider all almonds to be ethically sourced.

Walnuts

Walnuts are grown commercially in NZ. New Zealand is a country with strong labour laws. There have been some cases of severe worker abuse in the local horticulture industry, but these are rare.

Of imported walnuts, more than 99% come from the US.

We have found no evidence of worker abuse in either the NZ or US walnut industries.

We consider all walnuts to be ethically sourced.

Pistachios

99% of pistachios imported into Aotearoa come from either the US or Australia. We have not found evidence of significant worker abuse in the pistachio industry in Australia. In the US (source of 66% of our pistachios) we found evidence of less-than-ideal working conditions, but no serious abuse.

We consider all pistachios to be ethically sourced.

Brazil nuts

We note that child labour is used in the Bolivian brazil nut industry, and forced labour in brazil nuts in both Bolivia and Peru. 85% of the Brazil nuts sold in New Zealand come from these two countries, so all Brazil nuts should be considered a high risk product.

Brazil nuts are sufficiently uncommon that we didn’t investigate any brands; however if you wish to buy Brazil nuts, we recommend you first ask your supplier how they know their supply chain is free of child labour and forced labour.

Macadamia nuts

We note that macadamia nuts are moderately commonly sold. Often they are marked as being locally grown in NZ and we don’t expect ethical issues there. Imported macadamias can come from high risk geographies, and should be considered at risk for serious worker abuse.

As with Brazil nuts, we considered macadamia nuts to be reasonably uncommon, and we haven’t investigated any brands to find slave free options. We consider New Zealand grown macadamias to be slave free, as are those from the US or Australia. Imported macadamias marked as being from other countries (or macadamias where the country of origin isn’t marked) should not be bought without first asking questions about what the supplier knows about working conditions in their supply chain.

Recommendations for nuts

Nuts we always recommend, regardless of brand

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pistachios
  • New Zealand grown hazelnuts
  • New Zealand grown macadamias

Brands whose nut products we recommend in full

East Bali cashews

We recommend all products by East Bali cashews. They sell bagged cashews with various flavours, also other bagged snacks.

They provide 400 jobs in East Bali, giving unemployed women an income, access to education, and professional development. https://www.eastbalicashews.com/our-story

No formal certifications but were established as a social enterprise and they pay liveable wages, and have a “fair, responsible and sustainable business practice

They have not yet answered our questions, so we do not know for sure their policies on either child labour or PPE with their cashews. However, as they were established specifically as a social enterprise, we think it is probably safe to assume they are being ethical in these areas. Paying a living wage also significantly reduces the child labour risk.

As well as cashews, they appear to source all other ‘risky’ ingredients (e.g. bananas, coconut, cacao) from the local region, and take care to source these ethically as well.

Pic’s

We recommend all Pics products - this includes various nut butters and also honey.

Pic’s source their almonds from Australia, which is a low-risk country.

Most of their peanuts also come from Australia (low risk). They have had supply issues there due to drought, so they also purchase some peanuts from Brazil. In Brazil, they buy from a single farm, owned by a known person. He has recently become BRCGS certified. [Addition made 2/8/22: There are several BRCGS standards. The Pic’s website says: “they realised they matched the criteria of BRCGS’s… They look after their growers and processing staff.” We presume this means they have the standard that includes growers this one, and have based our recommendations on this assumption, but can’t be sure without further information from Pic’s]. This certification has good standards on forced and child labour etc., and involves audits to check for these. This is good to see, as forced labour is a significant issue on farms in Brazil, often via debt bondage. We have found no specific examples of severe labour abuse in the peanut industry in Brazil, but that could simply be because peanuts are a relatively uncommon crop there, as such issues are generally widespread. Pic’s has said (11/8/22) that they will get back to us soon with more information about labour conditions on the farm in Brazil. Pic’s is trialling growing peanuts in Northland in New Zealand, but not yet at a significant scale.

One of their products is chocolate peanut butter. This uses Whittaker’s chocolate, which we consider to be slave free.

We know of no issues to be concerned about in the NZ honey or salt industries; they do not use palm oil

We also note that Pic’s are trying to do good in several areas (clean energy, serving their local community etc.), and have structured their commitments around the UN’s SDGs.

Ferrero

We do not consider Ferrero’s products to be 100% slave free, but they are recommended based on making considerable efforts in some areas and actually being slave/child labour free in others. Ferrero makes Nutella, TicTac lollies, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and the Kinder chocolate range.

Ferrero has just released its 2021 sustainability report. In terms of risky ingredients:

  • for cocoa, they are very close to 100% traceability. All their cocoa is independently certified, mostly through Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade. The cocoa used in Australian nutella (which is what we presume is sold here) is Rainforest Alliance certified. We have no concerns with regard to cocoa sourcing.
  • for hazelnuts, they source “mainly from Turkey, Italy, Chile and the U.S”. Of these, from our point of view, the main ethical concerns pertain to child labour in Turkey. They have achieved 100% supply chain traceability in Chile and the US, but only 78% in Italy and 37% in Turkey. They are also actively involved in providing education to 5070 migrant children in Turkey through CAOBISCO and the ILO and have been actively working with CAOBISCO and the ILO to reduce child labour since 2013. This is commendable (and indicates a considerable effort), but is insufficient to consider them child labour free.
  • For palm oil (which has considerable forced labour risks) they are “Sourcing 100% RSPO certified palm oil as segregated for Ferrero products from a limited number of reliable suppliers, enabling us to trace our palm oil back to plantation level”. RSPO has standards on child labour and forced labour, but is widely believed to not implement these well. In addition to RSPO requirements, they are actively monitoring for ‘social non-compliance’ and say: “if we identify non-compliance among our suppliers, we immediately put remediation in place and work with them to implement it. But if issues are not resolved, we can terminate the business relationship.”(zero-tolerance policy). As with child labour in hazelnuts, we don’t believe they can be considered forced labour free in palm oil, but they are making a substantial effort.
  • For sugar, they buy 23% cane sugar and 77% beet sugar. The beet sugar is European. The cane sugar is 100% Bonsucro certified since end August 2020. We consider their sugar slave free.
  • In terms of minor ingredients, for coffee, they are 100% Rainforest Alliance certified. For coconut they’re just getting started. For shea they are doing good work in women’s empowerment.
Fix and Fogg

We recommend all products from Fix and Fogg.

Peanuts are sourced from Argentina, a relatively low-risk country.

Cashews are another nut they use as part of their ingredients for their nut butters, although there is no information on their website regarding the sourcing or supplying of these. In a December 2020 email they told Just Kai they were sourcing their cashews from Vietnam, and that those cashews were approved by the Fair Labor Association. This organisation doesn’t have much presence in New Zealand and we were not previously familiar with it; it appears to uphold basic ILO standards (e.g. no forced or child labour, basic health and safety) and to involve unannounced audits, but doesn’t ensure particular wage levels or similar. The person who could have responded to our recent email was on leave at the time we attempted to contact them so we don’t know for sure if they are still using FLA affiliated suppliers, but we are assuming they do.

In addition, their NZ factory is living wage accredited.

They are also registered with Orangutan Alliance to ensure all their products are 100% Palm oil-free, which means they are not using palm oil - another high-risk ingredient from a labour point of view.

Brands whose nut products we recommend in part

Countdown

We recommend Countdown’s own brand nut products (including the Macro range). This includes cashews, hazelnuts, and peanuts (bagged, in snack pots, in the bulk bins and as peanut butter). We cannot be confident they are free of child, and forced labour, but we recognise that Countdown is making very significant efforts in reducing these risks, and is currently expanding their efforts.

We do not recommend Countdown’s brand products where nuts are a more minor ingredient (e.g. biscuits, ice cream, sauces) - in general, even for high-risk ingredients, Countdown’s due diligence does not yet extend to minor ingredients.

Countdown and Woolworths’ Responsible Sourcing Programme assesses the risks to the welfare of the workers, whether it is working conditions, fair treatment, or fair wages, in the form of ‘Risk Ratings’. Nuts have been assessed as having a high risk of human rights abuses. Thus “Tier 1 direct suppliers of own brand nuts” need to “have completed Responsible Sourcing due diligence”. Tami from the Responsible Sourcing team, Woolworths advises in the email (22 Jul ‘22) that they are undergoing increased measures in 2022, they “have been piloting with a strategic nut supplier an exercise to gain visibility of their suppliers’ due diligence. We are continuing to work with this supplier to support them in monitoring their supply chain.”

We are also encouraged to see their Sustainability Plan for the coming years looks to increase these efforts further.

Alison’s pantry

Alison’s pantry supplies much of the snack items in the bulk bins of PakNSave and New World. We are unsure how to recommend them because of two factors:

  1. They state the current source of many of their nuts (and many of these are low-risk geographies), but we do not know if they have commitments to continue to source from these locations in the future. They have not responded to our queries.
  2. From the PakNSave and New World websites, it is not clear which products are from Alison’s Pantry. We haven’t had time to check, but think it might be more clear in store, but you need website clarity for your purposes. By comparing photos on the supermarket and Alison’s pantry website, it seems obvious that certain products are identical, but I don’t know if this will continue into the future.

We currently recommend the following:

  • all their chocolate snacks EXCEPT their coconut rough. They use Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa; all other ingredients except the coconut in the coconut rough look to be relatively low risk for severe human rights abuses. We do not expect this recommendation to change over time.
  • the natural peanuts and the honey roasted peanuts (from Argentina and the US respectively); the plain hazelnuts (from the US); the macadamias (from Australia) Note that this recommendation could change over time as we are not aware of long-term commitments to suppliers from these countries, so it may be best not to use it.

But not any of the other nuts (except, as ever, almonds, walnuts and pistachios) - including other peanut and hazelnut products.

We do not recommend any of their snack mixes or breakfast mixes - the items come from too many different countries.

We do appreciate the way Alison’s Pantry is clear with sourcing countries in many cases, but they do not seem to be trying to be ethical except with respect to cocoa sourcing.

Mother Earth

We recommend Mother Earth products using peanuts and cashews, as well as those with almonds or walnuts (as we recommend all almonds and walnuts). We do not recommend their products with other nuts, their products with sesame seeds (high risk for child labour), their non-nut savoury snacks (chickpeas, soy beans, pretzels etc.) or their products with large numbers of ingredients (muesli bars and similar).

Specifically, the products we recommend are:

  • single-nut bags of cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts or pistachios, whether flavoured, salted, roasted or plain (that includes everything on this page, and all but the macadamias and brazil nuts on this page)
  • their ‘cranberry deluxe’ nut mix (two sizes) and the cranberry trio
  • their peanut butter that is just peanuts, but not the ones with sesame, LSA or chia
  • their almond butter

Mother Earth has no information on their website that is particularly relevant to where most of their nuts are sourced from. The high oleic peanuts which are from Australia and Argentina, low risk countries that we can be confident doesn’t include child labour.

The cashews are sourced from Vietnam which has been reported to include child labour; however they state they use facilities with BRC accreditation, which they say means no one was harmed processing their nuts. There are a range of BRC standards - we presume this means they have the food safety one (the most fundamental, and which includes some basic worker provisions at the factory level), rather than ethical trade and responsible sourcing one (which would rule out child labour at the farm). Based on this we cannot be sure the cashews are free of child labour (children are mostly used in cashew growing, not processing) BUT, in choosing a BRC-accredited supplier, Mother Earth has made sure their cashew nuts are free of the most ubiquitous human welfare issue in the cashew industry - severe hand damage in the processing stage. We consider them, thus, to be making a substantial effort to ensure human welfare, so we recommend their cashew products.

There was no information on the sourcing of their other nuts; therefore we can only recommend their other products where they use low-risk nuts. We also note they are using sesame seeds (also at high risk for child labour), and other seeds (chia, flaxseed) which we have not been able to investigate risk levels for.

They clearly have an ethical sourcing policy (which is great!) but it wasn’t published on their website and they haven’t responded to our enquiries so we do not know what it covers.

Forty Thieves

We recommend Forty Thieves products with peanuts and cocoa but do not recommend any products with hazelnuts or cashews as a part of their ingredients list. Specifically we recommend:

we do not recommend their various multi-ingredient butters (keto butters, superfood butters, flavoured butters other than the choc almond one) or their pancake mix.

We’ve found that they source their Peanuts from Argentina which according to the Bureau of International Labor Affairs has reported no issues in child or forced labour; they also source cocoa from Ecuador, a relatively low risk location.

However, the hazelnuts that are sourced from Turkey and cashews sourced in Vietnam have shown potential for child labour.

The company has no certifications on their website and hasn’t responded to our enquiries.

Brands whose nut products we do not recommend

Little Bird Organics

We do not recommend Little Bird Organics.

The website shows no certifications, and the only commitment they mention is that they aim to source as many ingredients locally as they can.

Eta

We do not recommend Eta products.

The only relevant information on their website was that their parent company, Griffin’s, uses RSPO certified palm oil. This reduces the risk of slavery in their palm oil supply chain. There was no information on the sourcing of peanuts and they have yet to reply to our email.

Foodstuffs

We do not recommend Foodstuffs own brand nut products (including Value and Pams brands).

They did draw our attention to their Social Responsibility Report 2021. The Lead Quality and Technical Manager reports (email 26/07/22) the use of “the principles of the UN Global Compact and Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code” to take a risk-based approach when sourcing ingredients.

They provided no specific information on nut sourcing.

We note that imported produce must meet minimum… labour standards via Global GAP with GRASP or Rainforest Alliance certification”.

GRASP is a tool that evaluates labour at the bottom of the food chain – the farm level. The process starts with producers evaluating themselves according to a checklist that considers “Workers’ voice, human and labor rights information, human and labor rights indicators, and child and young workers protection.”

However, we think that it is unlikely this includes nuts. ‘Produce’ most commonly refers only to fruit and vegetables, not other agricultural products such as nuts or grains.

Sanitarium

We do not recommend Sanitarium nut-based products.

They have an ethical sourcing statement, but it doesn’t provide much concrete information. They source peanuts from many countries, based on quality and supply rather than ethics. They did not respond to our queries.

Nice and Natural

We do not recommend Nice and Natural nut bars - we found no relevant information on their website and they did not respond to our queries.

Tasti

We do not recommend Tasti products.

They did not answer our queries, and the other relevant information on their website was that they were sourcing RSPO palm oil (which is lower risk for slavery, but not a high quality certification when it comes to working conditions).

Freshlife

We do not recommend nut products from Freshlife.

They source peanuts from South America; child labour is a significant risk in peanuts in several South American countries.

Cashews are sourced from India, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Child labour has been reported in Vietnam (Southeast Asian country) and without clear specification about which country they’ve been sourced in, we can’t recommend their cashew-containing products.

The hazelnuts they use are sourced in Northern Turkey, which is another country that shows child labour is a common occurence.

No formal certifications can be seen on their website.

Coconuts

Ethical Concerns for coconuts

Actual child labour and forced labour are uncommon in the coconut industry, although child labour is used in the coconut industry in the Philippines (generally whilst the children still attend school). The Philippines is our second-biggest source country for actual coconuts (after Indonesia), but a much smaller source for oil (either raw or otherwise).

Coconut farmers often experience very low incomes:

https://www.treehugger.com/why-its-important-buy-fair-trade-coconut-products-4855653 https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/media-centre/blog/5-fairtrade-ingredients-that-might-surprise-you/

Fair pay and reliable income are important issues with coconuts. Safe use of agrochemicals is also important for non-organic coconuts.

Recommendations for coconuts

Brands whose coconut products we recommend in full

Blue Coconut

We recommend all Blue Coconut products. They sell coconut oil, both refined and unrefined, for both human and animal food markets.

They purchase from “Rabaul in the North to Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji in the East” (source). Countries in this region are low-risk in terms of forced and child labour in coconuts.

Their website states they promote equitable partnerships with suppliers. In correspondence (4/8/22) they told us they have been buying from the same villages for 11+ years (so those villages are assured of a stable income) and that they pay a higher price than is usual in Asia (although, presumably, what is a market rate for the Pacific). Stability of income is a major concern for coconut farmers, so we are happy to see they are ensuring this for their suppliers by retaining long-term relationships. They buy from 50 villages, and the coconut is processed into oil in the villages, which also provides more income there.

You can find the source of the oil in any container from a code on the container, so traceability is clearly good.

Kara

We recommend all Kara coconut products. These inclue coconut milk and coconut cream.

Kara is owned by the Sambu Group and source their coconuts from Sumatra Indonesia, a relatively low-risk location.

Kara is certified under Rainforest Alliance, and does SMETA 4 pillar audits (a supply chain audit process that looks at issues of human welfare in the supply chain, as well as other issues), and have OHSAS 18001 as well as SMK3 certification - both of which check for the safety of the employees within the factory (but that doesn’t extend to the farms).

They claim to value integrity and ethics highly and say it’s non-negotiable in their company. They’re motivated by business as well as the welfare of their employees, persevering to go the extra mile to provide housing, and kindergartens for parents to leave their children, provide schooling for children, supply clean and accessible water, and last but not least give access to subsidised groceries to the farmers that work at the plantations.

Little Island Coconut Creamery

We recommend all Little Island Coconut Creamery products. This includes a range of dairy free ice cream, yoghurt, milk and cream. The same company also makes the Fairtrade certified Nice Blocks range.

Little Island states that: “In the fields and on the farms we make sure farmers and workers are paid what they’re worth by ensuring we only buy from Fairtrade affiliated suppliers and engage in direct-trade everywhere else”. They haven’t answered our enquiries so we don’t know exactly what that means. In the past we have seen mention on their website of specific ingredients being Fairtrade certified, but we couldn’t find any mentions of this currently, but it does sound like they are making efforts in the right direction. They also pay a Living Wage in their NZ factory.

Raglan Food Co

We recommend all Raglan Food Co coconut products. This includes a range of dairy free yoghurt and kefir products. We note that they also make several vegan mayonnaise products: we have not investigated the ingredients in these (they include ‘vegetable oil’, which often means ‘palm oil’ - an ingredient at high risk for human rights violations).

Raglan yoghurt has made a reasonable effort to ensure their supply of coconuts is sourced ethically, having made a page on their website dedicated to their findings, after sending staff overseas to examine the factory. In a reply in the comments section, Mrs coconut, a friendly nickname for the co-founder by the farmers in Indonesia mentioned “All our suppliers have signed a code of conduct with us that explicitly states that we do not permit the use of any animal labour, child labour, or prison labour.” They also seek to foster long-term relationships with suppliers and contractors.

They are also pleased to report the factory in Indonesia supports a 50% split between male & female staff, subsidises staff grocery bills and provides medical insurance. The icing to the cake of ethics furthermore, is a program put in place to oversee that a percentage of profit is shared amongst employees so that the company’s success is enjoyed by all.

In addition to an ethical source, Raglan has displayed an above & beyond approach to ethical business as well, capping CEO salaries at 5x the amount of the lowest paid wage in the company, and keeping carbon positive by almost two and a half thousand tonnes each year.

Chelsea

We recommend Chelsea coconut sugar. Note that we do not recommend any other Chelsea sugar products, just the coconut one.

From their website, the sugar is marked as organic, so the main health and safety concerns in coconuts do not apply to their products.

We enquired about child labour and about price floors and stable pricing. They told us (email 27/7/22) that they purchase from Indonesia and use a Fairtrade certified supplier. That does not necessarily mean that they pay Fairtrade prices (most Fairtrade suppliers have to sell some products at less than Fairtrade prices - those buyers are then unable to display the Fairtrade logo. Chelsea does not display the logo), but it does mean that there are thorough checks for forced labour, child labour, health and safety issues etc. It is reasonably likely they are also paying above market rates to be able to purchase from a Fairtrade supplier.

Brands whose coconut products we do not recommend

UFC

We do not recommend UFC’s products as there is no relevant information on their website and they did not respond to enquiries.

They source their coconuts from Thailand, so they are at low risk of the worst abuses, but we do not know of anything they are doing beyond that. They’ve got many certifications but none of which pertain to the welfare of the employees, child labour or forced work labour.

Trident

We do not recommend Trident coconut products. We found no relevant information on their website and they did not respond to our enquiries.

Zenzo

We do not recommend the coconut yoghurt produced by Zenzo due to the lack of communication and information on their website.

There is no information on their website that is applicable to child and forced-work labour on their website. They do pay a Living wage in their NZ factory, which does encourage us that they’re on the right track, but with no mention of where they source their supply of coconut for their yoghurt there is no way to investigate whether it applies to the farmers and the employees in the factories as well.

Vitasoy

We do not recommend Vitasoy coconut products. We found no relevant information on their website and they did not respond to our enquiries.

CocoFuel

We do not recommend UFC’s coconut water products because there is no way to communicate with them.

Cocofuel themselves don’t have a website but Calorie NZ reports that their coconuts are sourced from Thailand, a low-risk country.

FiaFia

We do not recommend Fia Fia products, due to insufficient information. All we were able to establish was that their products are from Thailand.

We weren’t able to contact them for further enquiry.

Freshlife

We do not recommend Freshlife coconut flour. We couldn’t find any information regarding workers’ welfare on their website.

Other brands

We were unable to find any information about:

  • Solo’s choice
  • TCC
  • Stir

Rice

We did not contact any rice companies. We hoped that, as a fairly straightforward product (unlike things like other things we also considered, like herbs, spices or fruit, where one company often imports ingredients from many different places), we would be able to find sufficient information from company websites. This meant it was something we could research whilst waiting for answers to our other enquires. This research is thus all based only on publicly available information.

Ethical concerns for rice

NZ imports most rice from Australia, followed by Thailand and India. US, Vietnam, Cambodia and Pakistan also significant.

Child and forced labour are issues in India, child labour is an issue in Vietnam (source).

Fair pay is an issue in the rice industry in many majority world contexts.

Recommendations for rice

We did not immediately find any rice brands we could really recommend. Of those we looked at, we feel Sunrice is a better choice. They sell Sunrice and Riviana branded rice. They have identified rice as a product with a high risk of modern slavery in a number of markets from which they purchase. They are in the early stages of assessing their suppliers for slavery risks and are working with reputable agencies as they do so. Certain of their medium grain products (but not all) are marked as being made with Australian rice. These will be low-risk products.

Wonder Rose rice all seems to be marked as “grown in California: so is an ethical choice due to being low risk.

We also looked at the websites of:

  • Fortune Rice (a brand of Goodman Fielder)
  • Pacific Crown
  • Countdown (for own brand and macro)
  • Foodstuffs

But didn’t find any relevant information or were unsatisfied with the information we found.

We also failed to find websites for King’s Choice, Check and Just Rice.