Sainsbury’s has announced plans to pay thousands of workers a fairer wage to support the future of banana growers in Cameroon, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ghana.
Last year, along with nine other UK retailers brought together by IDH, Sainsbury’s committed to enabling banana workers to receive a living wage by 2027.
Sainsbury’s has taken action to address living wages now, three years ahead of this commitment.
The price Sainsbury’s is paying for every box of bananas now covers the cost of the fruit, plus a premium that is invested into workers’ wages.
The additional money would help workers cover food, housing, education and healthcare costs, improving their livelihoods and those of their families, it said.
The remainder of the premium would go 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.
“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,” said Ruth Cranston, Sainsbury’s director of corporate responsibility & sustainability.
Sainsbury’s has also moved to four-year contracts to give growers greater stability and financial security.
It has worked with its longstanding partner Fairtrade and banana supplier Fyffes to make these changes possible.
“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,” said Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation.
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.
“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,” said Cranston.
“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.”