Tesco has pledged a living wage across its UK banana supply chain in an effort to increase the pay of producers from early next year.
The grocer’s responsible sourcing director, Giles Bolton has outlined four commitments aimed at helping suppliers secure a benchmark wage that was “enough to meet their family’s basic needs including food, housing, education, healthcare, transport and clothing”.
This included a pledge to pay the living wage gap to banana producers equivalent to the volumes it sources from January 2022.
Tesco also committed to:
Ensure producers have in place a time-bound commitment to pay all workers a living wage
Reward suppliers for continued progress on closing living wage gaps with higher volumes as part of a balanced scorecard.
As of January 2024, only sourcing from banana producers who pay a living wage to all workers, no matter the volumes sourced by Tesco.
Since 2017, the UK’s largest supermarket has sourced all the bananas it sells in the UK and Ireland from either Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certified farms.
However, the two certification schemes do not guarantee that workers earn a living wage.
Bolton said the retailer had worked alongside industry partners including the World Banana Forum and IDH to establish living wage benchmarks in all major banana-producing countries and support the development of tools for suppliers to measure living wage gaps.
“The latest set of data show us that half of our suppliers already pay a living wage to all workers,” Bolton said.
“For our remaining suppliers, living wage gaps were found to range between two per cent and 18 per cent, but in many cases, it is only a small proportion of workers earning below the living wage benchmark.
“That’s why we are committed to embedding living wages into our purchasing practices and working together with our long-term supplier partners to eliminate living wage gaps over time.”