Sainsbury’s leads with living wages for banana workers

Posted: 13 February 2024 | | No comments yet

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is investing in living wages for banana workers in Cameroon, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ghana.


Sainsbury’s has announced that from 8 February, “every single banana” bought at one if its stores will contribute towards paying thousands of workers a fairer wage and supporting the future of banana growers in Cameroon, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ghana.

Back in 2023, ten UK retailers including Sainsbury’s were brought together by IDH and committed to supporting banana workers who are employed on large banana plantations to receive a living wage by 2027.

Now, Sainsbury’s has taken action to address living wages, three years ahead of the industry commitment.

Commenting on the decision to support banana workers, 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,” continued Cranston.

According to the supermarket, the price it is paying for every box of bananas now covers the cost of the fruit and in addition it pays a premium which is invested into workers’ wages. 

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“This additional money helps the workers to cover food, housing, education and healthcare costs, improving their livelihoods and those of their families,” said Sainsbury’s.

What’s more, the remainder of the premium goes towards looking after the environment through supporting the banana growers to implement sustainable farm practices including capturing carbon, reducing water footprints and improving biodiversity and soil health.

In addition to this, Sainsbury’s has moved to four-year contracts to give its growers greater stability and financial security.

To launch this initiative, Sainsbury’s has been working with Fairtrade and Fyffes, banana suppliers headquartered in Ireland. However, the retailer is now calling on others to also meet the industry commitment early.

Speaking on Fairtrade’s stance on the initiative, 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.”