Lidl’s Initiative Towards Living Wages in the Banana Supply Chain


At Berlin’s Fruit Logistica, Lidl unveiled its initial achievements and insights on actively bridging wage disparities through the “Living Wage Banana” initiative. As a fresh discounter, Lidl became the first food retailer to bridge the wage gap, ensuring living wages for 10,000 workers on banana farms in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic - all major banana-producing countries. In 2022, Lidl embarked on this project in partnership with FLOCERT, a global fair trade certification company, and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), a non-profit organization.

This collaboration marked Lidl as the first German retailer to source bananas exclusively from plantations that provide their employees with living wages. The Living Wage Banana initiative encompasses fair trade organic and conventional bananas, as well as entry-level Rainforest Alliance-certified conventional bananas.

In collaboration with its suppliers and partners, FLOCERT and IDH, Lidl in Germany has pioneered a system to ensure that the necessary price premium for living wages is accurately determined and paid to the plantations of Lidl and its business partners. A four-stage project cycle enables producers in the producing countries to guarantee living wages. The process begins with data collection to determine the wage situation. This data is then independently verified through on-site controls, and the wage gap proportional to Lidl is closed, for example, through a “Living Wage” bonus or cash payments.

Christoph Graf, Managing Director of Goods at Lidl Service GmbH & Co. KG, stated, “Our project presents tangible solutions to secure the livelihoods of plantation employees in the banana supply chain. We will consistently pursue these in the future in the interests of the producers and the people who work there. Together with our partners FLOCERT and IDH, we aim to be pioneers in setting an ambitious industry standard in the long term.”

For Lidl’s companies in Germany, “Fair Trade” is a key aspect of Lidl’s sustainability strategy to enhance living and working conditions in the countries where various raw materials and products are produced. In 2020, Lidl launched the Fairtrade-certified brand “Way To Go” with chocolate. Since then, over 2,200 cocoa farmers from Ghana, nearly a third of whom are women, have benefited from improved income. In 2023, the “Way To Go” range was expanded to include orange juice and orange-mango nectar.

The sale of these products allows producers to receive a minimum price, a Fairtrade bonus, and an additional cash component, as well as funding for additional training courses and income diversification projects. This initiative has been recognized by the Ökotest magazine, which named the “Fairglobe Way To Go” orange juice as the test winner in its 02/2024 issue.