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A living wage for banana workers

UK retailers commit to close living wage gaps in international banana supply chains​
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
A farmer carrying a huge banana bunch in Jalgaon, India

Nine major retailers in the UK have joined forces to commit to a living wage for banana workers in their international supply chains.

This initiative complements similar agreements in Belgian, Dutch and German markets.​​

UK retailers Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl GB, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, supported by IDH, are working with a collective goal to close the living wage gap within their banana supply chains by the end of 2027.​​

‘This is a unique opportunity for retailers to lead the way and demonstrate to our supply chain partners that we are serious about doing our part to enable banana workers to earn a living wage’, the coalition says.​​

A spotlight on bananas​

Bananas are one of the most commonly sold fruit in supermarkets all over the world. British consumers enjoy over 8 billion of them each year.

These bananas are mainly sourced from Central American, South American and West African countries where data indicates workers are not always able to earn a living wage.

Paying a living wage – equivalent to the volumes sourced – throughout international banana supply chains is also a pledge in similar retailer commitments based in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.

More consumer markets tackling this issue means increased leverage to create impact on a global scale.​​

‘As the neutral global platform for multi-stakeholder collaboration on the banana sector, the World Banana Forum welcomes initiatives that promote living wages and sustainability.’

World Banana Forum

What is a living wage?​

A living wage ensures that, in a particular time and place, the pay received by a worker is sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and their family.

Elements of a decent standard of living include access to food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport and other essential needs.

As such, closing the gap between the current wage and the living wage improves a workers’ standard of living. ​

Making the commitment a reality​

To bring this commitment to life, the retailers have agreed to work according to the IDH Roadmap on Living Wages and will calculate the living wage gap in their supply chains using tools like the IDH Salary Matrix.

In addition to analysing their individual company processes and procurement practices, the coalition members will work in partnership with other retail initiatives, suppliers, producers and stakeholders like NGOs, certifiers and trade unions to achieve their goals.

The coalition will also work in close collaboration with relevant standard organisations such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance to work towards living wages for workers.​​

The United Kingdom represents 4% of global banana imports. The British coalition of retailers call upon retailers in other consumer markets to join them and the initiatives underway in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany to make living wages a reality for all banana workers.

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