The John Lewis Partnership is marking the 15th anniversary of its Waitrose Foundation by expanding it into three new countries, an initiative that the retail giant hopes will provide a much needed lifeline to communities that have been hit hardest by Covid-19.
The three nations, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, will now be able to supply a range of product lines to Waitrose through the foundation, including exotic fruits such as passionfruit and lisianthus flowers.
The addition of these countries means that the Waitrose Foundation is active in 10 countries in Africa and Central America.
“Since the Foundation started in South Africa in 2005, we have extended our operations across Africa and Central America, supporting thousands of workers in our fresh produce and horticulture supply chains,” Waitrose Foundation board member Andrew Allchurch said.
“The foundation matters to Waitrose. It enables us to work in partnership with our supply chain to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable workers globally, and together, we aim to create a sustainable supply chain for the future.”
Since launching the programme in South Africa in 2005, in partnership with its suppliers the Waitrose Foundation has helped re-invest over £14 million back into the communities where products are grown, picked and packed, with a further £500,000 unlocked during the Covid pandemic to help its most vulnerable Foundation communities.
This figure is increasing, with two per cent of each customer sale of the over 200 foundation products sold in Waitrose stores given back to farm workers in Africa and Central America.
To date, this has led to over 1000 locally led projects being completed, with the money raised used to build schools, medical facilities, clean drinking water, clinics and community training programmes.