Sainsbury’s Leads the Way in Fair Pay for Banana Workers


Sainsbury’s, the supermarket giant, has taken a pioneering step in the industry by investing in living wages for banana workers. This move comes three years ahead of a broader industry commitment, demonstrating Sainsbury’s proactive approach to fair trade.

In the previous year, Sainsbury’s, along with nine other UK retailers, pledged to bridge the pay gap for workers on large banana plantations. This pledge, known as the UK Retail Commitment and led by IDH, aims to ensure that banana farmers receive a living wage by 2027.

However, Sainsbury’s has accelerated its plans. Now, every banana purchased from Sainsbury’s will contribute to a fairer wage for thousands of workers, bolstering the future of growers in Cameroon, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Ghana.

In addition to covering the cost of the fruit, Sainsbury’s is paying a premium that will be invested directly into the workers’ wages and environmental support. This fairer pay will help cover essential costs such as food, housing, education, and healthcare, thereby improving the livelihoods of workers and their families. The remaining funds will assist workers in implementing sustainable farming practices, such as carbon capture.

Simultaneously, Sainsbury’s has extended its contracts to four years, providing greater stability and financial security for its banana growers. Sainsbury’s is reputed to be the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade bananas. Since 2000, it has invested over £75 million via Fairtrade to enhance the social infrastructure of banana-producing communities. This investment has paved the way for Sainsbury’s and its longstanding partner, Fairtrade, to concentrate on wages and climate resilience to safeguard banana production for future generations.

Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, commented, “Paying a living wage is central to sustainability. This groundbreaking commitment from Sainsbury’s follows detailed consultations with producers who have helped shape the partnership, particularly by securing multi-year contracts, which is a significant advancement.”

In addition to its collaborative efforts with Fairtrade, Sainsbury’s attributes these rapid changes to its work with banana supplier Fyffes.

Having achieved its goal ahead of schedule, Sainsbury’s is now encouraging others to follow suit. Ruth Cranston, Sainsbury’s Director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, stated, “Bananas are our bestselling fruit. By improving wages for this product, we can positively impact the lives of thousands of people in the countries we source from. However, 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.”