Sher Ethiopia, a Dutch company who grows roses in Ethiopië, distances themselves from the Dutch TV show ‘Zembla’ where the company was accused of abuses like underpayment, tricks to minimize the income tax, the use of to much water from Lake Ziwaya and the company would also be using harmful pesticides.
The ZEMBLA broadcast asked in the TV show the question how sustainable roses are produces while the roses of Sher Ethiopië are Fairtrade certified. Sher Ethiopië published a statement on behalf of the employees and management. ‘We wish to distance ourselves in strong terms from the gross inaccuracies and inadequacies which have been outlined by ZEMBLA concerning the alleged abuses in the management of our production companies in Ethiopia. We deeply regret that our outstanding reputation in the field of sustainability and corporate social responsibility has been depicted in a completely incorrect and unacceptable way in Dutch media, and that, as a result thereof, we have been put in a position of having to defend ourselves for our current policy.’
‘Currently, we are considering to undertake possible (legal) action against the editorial program staff of ZEMBLA and/or BNN-VARA broadcasting companies, in order to enforce rectification of the broadcasted inaccuracies and untruths. In the following we have given an explanation per item of the factual situation, in order to eliminate possible misunderstandings resulting from this broadcast.’
Sher has a large rose nursery in Ethiopia (325 ha production) and is located on Lake Ziway, at a height of 1,650m above sea level and approximately 2.5 hours drive south of the capital of Addis Ababa. Besides the Ziway nursery, there are two other locations, where they cultivate roses in a sustainable way.
The statement further says: ‘Sustainability is a core corporate value at Sher Ethiopia and our rose nurseries in Ethiopia. This is reflected through respect for people and the environment. To guarantee independence and objectivity our company is subject to regular controls by internationally recognized companies such as MPS-ECAS and Flo-cert, which are aimed at growers and traders. Sustainably grown roses are based on a sustainable staff policy. In order to have this verified independently, Sher Ethiopia has been certified by internationally recognized standards including MPS- Socially Qualified and Fairtrade (Max Havelaar). These certifications are founded on the ILO (International Labour Organization). This means that Sher Ethiopia uses permanent employment contracts, minimum wage standards, adequate leave and various forms of staff participation.’
‘After this general description of the manner in which Sher Ethiopia implements its social and societal responsibility, we will subsequently deal with a number of specific subjects, which are represented in an incorrect manner during the broadcasting of ZEMBLA, as a result of which it is possible that the wrong impression can be created.’