SUSTAINABLE SOURCING OF BANANAS

Raw material goals

Bananas are one of our most popular products, grown and produced in countries on the equator and shipped into the UK every day. As bananas can be grown by both smallholder farmers and on large plantations, it is important that we understand our supply chains well to make sure we are able to support sustainable and ethical production in the most appropriate way.

Bananas and plantains are produced in more than 123 countries worldwide and are one of the top ten crops globally in terms of yield produced, area occupied and calories provided. The Cavendish variety, which is the type of banana most commonly sold in Europe, comes from warm climates with limited winds such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Export revenues from bananas contribute significantly to the local economies of these regions and, as a whole, the sector provides employment for thousands of people. 

Learn what we are working on in our other fruit and veg supply chains here.

Our Commitment

We are committed to sourcing 100% of our bananas from either Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certified sources.

Transparency

We are working closely with our suppliers to increase supply chain transparency. This includes closely checking every box of bananas as it moves from farms, through packhouses, onto ships and into our stores. Every box of bananas in our stores clearly states the country of origin and we use this knowledge to help support our sustainability initiatives.  In addition to this we have examined our Fairtrade banana supply chain in more detail to gather deeper insights to the sourcing locations. See where our Fairtrade bananas are sourced here.

Advocating for Living Wages for Smallholders

Raw materials - bananas

In order to understand the impact of third-party certification schemes, our key banana supplier has undertaken a Fairtrade impact study within Colombia and the Dominican Republic. This study, which engaged 26 producer organisations, 32 worker focus groups and conducted over 800 worker surveys, has helped Lidl to understand the impact of the Fairtrade system on incomes for smallholder producers. We will use the findings from this study to enhance the ongoing impact of Fairtrade for the workers and farmers in our supply chain.

WORLD BANANA FORUM

We recognise the need to work with a wider group of stakeholders to effectively advocate for progress in the banana industry. As well as the measures undertaken within our own supply chains, in 2016 we became the first discount retailer to become a member of the World Banana Forum multi-stakeholder initiative (WBF). Through this forum we are advocating for sector-level environmental and social improvements. This includes supporting the sector to achieve living wages, where in collaboration with WBF, the Global Living Wage Coalition and Fairtrade we have supported living wage benchmarks and promoted the strategic use of Fairtrade premiums.

Women in the Banana Sector

Banana farming has traditionally been a male-dominated activity, particularly in the Dominican Republic, with cultural attitudes considering it an inappropriate activity for women and certain tasks considered not suitable to be undertaken by women.

It is estimated that women make up 13% of Fairtrade banana farmers and workers on plantations. By raising awareness of issues such as sexual harassment and gender discrimination, there are significantly more workers on Fairtrade plantations than non-Fairtrade plantations with access to policies to support addressing these challenges.

At Lidl GB, we have partnered with our key banana supplier Fyffes, to launch HERessentials, a new digital gender programme created by BSR’s HERProject. The programme was identified in response to the findings of Fyffes’ company-wide Human Rights Impact Assessment in 2020. Following discussions with Lidl, it was agreed to collaborate on this aspect of the action plan and help bring the programme to scale across Latin America.

The aim of the training programme is to empower women to develop the skills and confidence needed to improve their own health, financial security and protection from violence, both within the workplace and within their family and community. The training will outline barriers and opportunities for both genders through peer-to-peer learning, work to improve communication channels between workers and management, as well as encourage workers to become active decision makers and leaders.  

The digital format of HERessentials will enable the project to reach more workers and aims to become a self-sustaining training across Latin America in due course. The programme launches in Costa Rica in May 2021.

Together, Lidl GB and Fyffes have agreed a range of gender-sensitive KPIs to monitor the implementation and success of HERessentials. These include monitoring economic status of workers, number of women in management positions and grievances reported and remediated. Together we aim to reach over 10,000 workers in our joint supply chain by 2025.

Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing