Sir, We welcome Asda’s move towards a sustainable banana industry; however, it’s a shame that Asda has picked the lowest-hanging fruit when the trickier ones were still within reach (‘Asda moves to 100% sustainable bananas,’ 7 November, p38).
Research confirms a sustainable banana industry needs improvement in the economic side of the supply chain, so workers and farmers aren’t forced into poverty due to low market prices. In a recent UK supermarket scorecard, Asda’s result was a mere 27% effectiveness in tackling this issue, which won’t necessarily be addressed with their new commitment. The UK’s banana price wars threaten producers’ futures and they need the protection of suppliers.
As Banana Link said: “Without a minimum price protecting workers or a premium empowering communities to invest as they best see fit, Asda has not taken the rights of workers and farmers in the banana industry to heart.” Fairtrade is the only certification that guarantees a minimum price and a premium on top of that, which farmers themselves choose how to invest.
Louise Valducci, head of major retail accounts, Fairtrade Foundation