Sainsbury’s announced this week it was committing money from all bananas sold in stores to paying better wages to workers and growers in Cameroon, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ghana.
The world’s biggest retailer of Fairtrade bananas has stepped up three years ahead of the standard set in an agreement through IDH with nine other supermarkets to give banana workers on large plantations living wages by 2027.
“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,” Ruth Cranston, Sainsbury’s Director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, said. “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.”
The price Sainsbury’s is paying for every box of bananas now covers the cost of the fruit, plus a premium that is put toward workers’ wages.
“This additional money helps the workers to cover food, housing, education and healthcare costs, improving their livelihoods and those of their families,” Sainbury’s said. “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.”
Thanks to its work with Fairtrade and Fyffes, Sainsbury’s has poured more than £75 million through Fairtrade to help boost social infrastructure for communities that produce bananas. Its new four-year contracts also help provide a secure future for those families.
“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,” Minel Bellamir, Employee at Bananeros los Ríos Plantation, Dominican Republic, said. “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.”