// Waitrose introduces new initiatives to support suppliers amid the coronavirus chaos
// It will provide cash to supplier communities in Africa and Central America
// The grocer pledged to pay small and vulnerable suppliers more quickly
Waitrose has launched new initiatives to support its suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The upmarket grocer will provide cash to supplier communities in Africa and Central America, support small businesses bring their products to market, and speed up payments to small and vulnerable suppliers.
Waitrose has donated £200,000 to its foundation communities in Africa and Central America, where some of its produce is grown, picked and packed.
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The cash will be used to provide sanitation kits and food parcels to around 100,000 people.
“Buyers are working on a daily basis with the many family run businesses that provide local produce to its stores, ensuring that the most vulnerable suppliers are included in key decision making processes and continue to have a platform to sell their products,” Waitrose said.
The John Lewis Partnership-owned grocer is also taking in more horticultural stock, which it said was “helping to support businesses that may otherwise not have had a path to market during the government-mandated lockdown”.
“The John Lewis Partnership was founded on the principle that we have a responsibility to others and that we must treat people fairly, which extends to our partners, customers, suppliers and the communities that we trade with, including those outside of the UK,” Waitrose food and grocery director Rupert Thomas said.
“This pandemic poses the greatest humanitarian and economic threat of our generation and, whilst we face many difficult decisions, as a collective industry we must continue to look at ways we can help to protect people and their livelihoods during this unprecedented time.
“The measures we have put in place are just the start and we will continue to do everything we can to provide support to our suppliers and the people who form part of them, particularly those that are most vulnerable.”