A Michigan produce cooperative held a seminar on social responsibility.

Traverse City, Mich.-based North Bay Produce Inc., a grower-owned marketing and distributing co-op, held the seminar Feb. 2 at a law firm in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Fifty-seven local  growers attended the all-day meeting, said Jon Wall, North Bay’s supply chain specialist.

Topics covered included migrant and seasonal worker protection, child labor, wages, overtime and housing.

Speakers included attorneys from the Varnum law firm, where the seminar was held; buyers from C.H. Robinson, Wal-Mart and Spartan Stores; North Bay president Mark Girardin; Michigan Department of Agriculture official Mark Schwartz; and representatives from Accordia Global Compliance Group, an expert in social accountability practices. 

North Bay decided to host the seminar for its local business partners because of the importance of having a proper “code of conduct” in the company’s corporate philosophy, Wall said.

“Social accountability/responsibility has existed in one form or another in different industries for more than 20 years,” Wall said. “We thought it would be appropriate to discuss the topic formally in order to create our own written policy and encourage others to do the same.”