Plenty Supplier Code of Conduct Q&A

Plenty recently unveiled its new Supplier Code of Conduct, with input from employees at every level of the organization. This new Supplier Code better reflects the vision of Plenty, to provide delicious, nutritious and accessible produce for all people, in a manner that is both transparent and sustainable. In asking that our partners commit to fair labor practices, environmentally friendly products, policies and procedures, and transparent health and safety measures, we are staying true to our mission to improve the lives of plants, people and the planet.

We sat down with Plenty’s Director of Global Supply Chain at Plenty, Ryan Anderson, to find out more.

How did this new Supplier Code come to be?

We are a mission-driven company and our employees reflect that. This initiative was driven from the bottom-up. Plenty employees wanted to ensure that we were holding not only ourselves accountable to fair and sustainable business practices, but that we held similar expectations for our suppliers and partners. 

Our first step was to form a committee of people from around the company. Everyone works directly with suppliers at some point, and we wanted to have input from a wide group of stakeholders.

Why now?

This was a very important question for us to consider. As a smaller organization, still in startup mode in many ways, we are bucking the trend by setting up this Supplier Code so early. It’s easy to worry whether we will have the clout and size necessary to influence suppliers - many of whom have been doing things a certain way for decades. Even without leverage, however, this is the right thing to do for Plenty now. Our mission is inherent in our DNA, and we realized that had to be transparent in every area of the organization, including supplier relations.

How will you implement the Supplier Code into operations?

Without question, this is a meaty, broad approach to supplier relations. We consider this to be Phase I, and future phases will help add more detail, clarity, metrics and definition. We looked to companies like Patagonia and Apple, who have successfully woven their ethical policies and code of conduct into the wider business practice. We believe that by starting early, we can traverse this journey faster and more efficiently, becoming more granular over time and as needed. We also believe that by taking the time to clearly define our Code of Conduct, we help all Plenty employees and partners feel connected to our mission and our culture.

How can Plenty’s new Supplier Code of Conduct help drive change on a broader scale?

Our mission is well defined - to improve the lives of plants, people and the planet. The plant portion is well covered by what we do inside our farms. This Supplier Code of Conduct is focused on ensuring that individuals and our planet are treated ethically and fairly, by wielding our influence however we can. We work with a wide variety of suppliers, some large and national, some small and regional, and often education is the biggest component. Most suppliers are eager to meet these standards, they just need help and guidance along the way. That is something that we can offer as we work together.

We benefit from long term, valuable partnerships, and we want to help all companies we work with achieve their own goals of innovation and social responsibility. While we recognize this is only a first step, we are striving to make working with Plenty a source of pride for suppliers who are also committed to unparalleled quality and high ethical standards.