From today, every single banana bought at Sainsbury’s will contribute towards paying thousands of workers a fairer wage and support the future of banana growers in Cameroon, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ghana.
Last year, Sainsbury’s, along with nine other UK retailers brought together by IDH, committed to enabling banana workers – those employed on large banana plantations – to receive a living wage by 2027.
Sainsbury’s has taken action to address living wages now, three years ahead of the industry commitment. The price Sainsbury’s is paying for every box of bananas now covers the cost of the fruit, plus a premium which is invested into workers’ wages*.
This additional money helps the workers to cover food, housing, education and healthcare costs, improving their livelihoods and those of their families.
The remainder of the premium goes towards helping the environment, by supporting the banana growers to implement sustainable farm practices, such as capturing carbon, reducing water footprints and improving biodiversity and soil health.
Sainsbury’s has also moved to four year contracts to give its growers greater stability and financial security.
Sainsbury’s worked with longstanding partner Fairtrade and banana supplier Fyffes to make these changes possible. The retailer is now calling on others to also meet the industry commitment early, so that every banana worker across the whole industry can be paid a living wage.
Ruth Cranston, Sainsbury’s Director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, said: “Bananas are our bestselling fruit and by improving wages on this product we can positively impact the lives of thousands of people in the countries we source from. But we want every banana worker across the entire industry to benefit and we can’t do this alone, that’s why we’re urging other retailers to act now so that all workers can be paid fairly.
“By choosing Sainsbury’s bananas, our customers are helping to both enrich workers’ livelihoods through fairer pay and tackle climate change, supporting a thriving and enduring banana industry for the long term.
“This has all been possible thanks to our longstanding relationships with Fairtrade and Fyffes. We look forward to many more years of working together as partnership is the key to creating resilient and responsible supply chains.”
Minel Bellamir, Employee at Bananeros los Ríos Plantation, Dominican Republic, said: “We are glad that thanks to Fairtrade and the Fairtrade Premium we are able to improve our living conditions and wages. To me, living wages means more security, better housing, and giving an education to my children. When Fairtrade and companies like Sainsbury’s work together and commit to support banana workers in earning decent wages, our families and communities have a better chance to establish decent living conditions. Fairtrade and Sainsbury’s are also supporting the development of better growing practices, which is especially important as I feel the effects of climate change and the impact this has on the production of bananas.”
Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation said: “We are thrilled to be working with our valued long term partner Sainsbury’s to work towards closing the living wage gap for the women and men who grow Fairtrade bananas.
“Fairtrade’s vision is a world where farmers and workers have the power to improve their livelihoods through better pay and working conditions. Paying a living wage is central to sustainability, and this ground-breaking new commitment from Sainsbury’s comes after detailed consultations with producers, who have helped shape the partnership – in particular by securing multi-year contracts which is a huge step forward.”
Diana Copper, UK Country Director at IDH said: “Sainsbury’s is making commendable steps towards getting more pay into the pockets of banana workers. We only started the UK Retail Commitment last year and perhaps the most critical part is responsible procurement practices and paying suppliers fairly. By paying the Fairtrade Living Wage Reference Price and committing to longer-term contracts, Sainsbury’s is addressing these key elements and showing that they are listening to their banana suppliers and producers. We have faith that more retailers will follow suit as the more retailers that embed similar solutions, the greater the impact will be on the workers’ wages.”
Sainsbury’s is the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade bananas. Since 2000, Sainsbury’s has invested over £75 million via Fairtrade in improving social infrastructure for banana producing communities. This investment has laid the foundations for Sainsbury’s and Fairtrade to focus on wages and climate resilience to secure banana production for future generations.
Image: Alfredo de la Hoz from BANAFRUCOOP, Colombia
*UK retailers commit to close living wage gaps in international banana supply chains on Living Wage – IDH (idhsustainabletrade.com)
**Sainsbury’s is the first retailer to pay the Fairtrade Living Wage Reference Price. Brighter future for banana workers as Fairtrade launches ‘game changing’ new offer for traders and retailers – Fairtrade Foundation
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