Last year, Sainsbury’s along with nine other UK retailers, promised to plug the pay gap for workers on large banana plantations.
The UK Retail Commitment, spearheaded by IDH, is a pledge from participating supermarkets to support banana farmers in receiving a living wage by 2027.
Now, three years earlier than planned, every banana bought from Sainsbury’s will contribute to paying thousands of workers a fairer wage, supporting the future of growers in Cameroon, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ghana.
Sainsbury’s is now covering the cost of the fruit, plus a premium which will be invested into the banana workers’ wages and helping to support the environment.
Fairer pay will help cover food, housing, education and healthcare costs, and improve livelihoods among workers and their families. Whilst the remainder will be used to support the workers in rolling out sustainable farming practices, such as capturing carbon.
At the same time, the UK retailer has extended its contracts to four-years, offering its banana growers greater stability and financial security.
Sainsbury’s is said to be the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade bananas. Since 2000, it has invested more £75 million via Fairtrade in improving social infrastructure for banana producing communities.
This investment has laid the foundations for the supermarket and its longstanding partner, Fairtrade, to focus on wages and climate resilience to secure banana production for future generations.
Commenting, Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “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.”
Alongside its collaborative efforts with Fairtrade, the supermarket says it also owes these speedy changes to its work with banana supplier Fyffes.
Now, having reached its goal early, Sainsbury’s is urging others to do the same.
“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,” stated Ruth Cranston, Sainsbury’s director of corporate responsibility & sustainability. “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.”