May 4, 2015
Case Study: Ecuadorian Rose Industry
There are no set global laws implemented and enforced by a global government; each country has their own laws and their own way of regulating businesses. Not many consumers stop and think about where the product they just purchased at the store came from, or who it was made by, and in what kind of conditions. Seemingly small items that are purchased every day around the world, such as roses, could be causing harm to workers or the surrounding environment during production. These differing laws assist in creating legal, cultural, and ethical challenges.
Challenges faced by the Ecuadorian Rose Industry The Ecuadorian rose industry has faced some substantial challenges surrounding the way they grow their rose bushes. What began as ethical challenges could turn into legal challenges for the way business is conducted. The rose industry is Ecuador’s top product, and provides tens of thousands of jobs to locals. These roses are like no other in the world, due to the volcanic soil and area in which they grow. The 460 rose farms located in Ecuador bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year. “The rose industry in Ecuador provides good paying jobs for thousands of poor rural women-many of whom are heads of households. Those jobs are draining the drug trade of recruits, which in turn helps keeps drugs off the streets of the U.S” (Cely, 2013). These roses have surely made a positive mark, but there is also another side. Some of the main growers have been accused of using toxic pesticides and other fumigants to grow their pristine roses. The problem with this is when the workers spray these toxic chemicals they are not using protective gear. Exposure to toxic substances can be quite harmful to the body, and can cause an array of side effects. Studies conducted on workers have shown that well over half were experiencing symptoms related to pesticide poisoning. Considering the amount of workers there are in these farms and how many are getting sick, this is a substantial amount of workers that are being exposed to harmful chemicals. Ignoring this evidence could become legal issues if the problem isn’t addressed. This pesticide poisoning issue is an ethical challenge, because there are no laws that are stopping it from occurring, but there is evidence that there is harm being made to the workers. The rose industry has done so much to help improve Ecuador overall, therefore it can be difficult for outsiders to see fault in what is happening. The pesticides help keep the roses appearing nearly perfect, but it could possibly be at the cost of thousands of workers’ health. The government are those who make the laws and enforce them; including labor laws. Some may wonder how these conditions are getting past the government, and how it’s not being interfered with. Ecuador’s rose industry has gained many critics due to their pesticide use, but not many are able to know more because of limited access to inside. Both the growers and the government have been hush-hush on the situation, and refused to speak with the International Labor Organization.
A geneticist at the Catholic University was interviewed on the conditions of the rose farms, and when asked what type of health and safety hazards regulations there are and which government agencies monitor them, he replied that there is no such thing. There are no occupational health departments (Thompson, 2003).
Lessons Learned After being under all of this scrutiny, the management in the industry has…