(Clockwise from top left) Ricardo Crisantes, Matt Rogers, Hugo Hays and Barry Rogers will speak at the Sustainable Produce Summit on social responsibility certifications. ( Courtesy photos )

Looking to learn more about sustainable practices throughout the fresh produce supply chain? Register now to hear from industry leaders at The Packer's Sustainable Produce Summit, a free virtual event Sept. 22-24.

Four produce industry members will discuss their experiences with social responsibility certifications in a panel Sept. 24 at the Sustainable Produce Summit.

The panel features Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer of Wholesum; Hugo Hays, global director of food safety and compliance for Fyffes; Barry Rogers, owner of consulting firm RogersAgro; and Matt Rogers, general manager and co-founder of farm labor contractor AgSocio.

The group will discuss certifications including Fair Trade USA, Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) and Rainforest Alliance. They will speak to what the demand is for these certifications among retailers and consumers and to what they have seen as far as internal and external return on investment in these certifications.

Other programs along the same lines include Sustainably Grown, a certification from SGS Services; certifications from Fairtrade International; Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA); and GLOBALG.A.P. Grasp, an add-on for farms already certified with GLOBALG.A.P.

With so many options when it comes to social responsibility certifications, and different retailers preferring different programs, audit fatigue becomes an issue, as has been the case in the food safety realm. The panel will discuss that challenge and how retailers can — and in some cases already are — adapting to improve that situation.

This panel takes place 12:30 p.m. CST as part of the Sustainable Produce Summit, with breakout discussions following so others in the industry can continue the conversation with panelists and other attendees.