News archive

Fair Trade USA suspends certification of Fyffes’ melon plantation in Honduras 07.12.2018
Ethical standards body, Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), has this week suspended the certification of the Fyffes owned Suragroh melon plantation in Honduras, in response to evidence of labour rights violations. The suspension followed an open letter to FTUSA from twenty five human rights and labour organisations from North America, Europe and Asia, including Banana Link, calling into question their certification of Suragroh. For more than a decade, workers at Suragroh have reported to the trade union STAS-FESTAGRO that Fyffes has failed to pay minimum wages or any statutorily mandated benefits such as...
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Aldi price cuts threaten banana workers’ livelihoods - TAKE ACTION 28.11.2018
The recent announcement by Aldi that it plans to cut the price it pays for its bananas, threatens the sustainability and livelihoods of small-scale famers and plantation workers.     Average retail prices for bananas have fallen by more than 50 % in real terms over the past 15 years, as a result of supermarket price wars, exacerbating poor incomes for the people who grow the UK’s most consumed fruit. This “race to the bottom” has also amplified significant social and environmental impacts in most banana producing countries, including the denial of basic human rights, notably the freedom to...
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Fair Trade USA Certifies Labour Violations as “Fair Trade” in Honduras 28.11.2018
A coalition of unions, farmworkers, fair trade advocates, ethical businesses and retailers (including Banana Link) is confronting Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), a US-based fair trade certification agency, for ignoring human rights abuses and its own standards in certifying a Honduran melon grower with a long history of violations. In an open letter sponsored by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) published through Fair World Project (FWP), the coalition is calling on FTUSA to adhere to its own standards and take immediate action to decertify Suragroh, a fully-owned subsidiary of...
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Aldi facing mounting pressure from LatAm banana supply countries over price cut plans 31.10.2018
Germany-headquartered discount retail chain Aldi is facing widespread condemnation from Latin American banana-producing countries over its plans to lower pricing by around a dollar in 2019.   Industry associations from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala have all expressed anger, saying the move could cause serious issues.   Earlier this month the Ecuadorian banana industry wrote a letter signed by 31 organizations slamming the retailer’s plans, following which Costa Rican’s Corbana, Colombia’s Augura and Guatemala’s APIB also made their complaints heard.    They say that further...
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Sustainability certification initiatives need to be more effective 23.10.2018
New research just published by the Dutch Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) reveals a pattern of recurring labour right violations on farms certified by almost all the well-known sustainability certification initiatives, such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance.    For their report - Looking good on paper: Review of recent research on the impact of sustainability certication on working conditions on large farms - SOMO reviewed published evidence about the effectiveness of sustainability certification initiatives on labour conditions at large-scale farms in low- and...
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Bananas and coffee: worlds apart ? 15.10.2018
At first glance, the world banana and coffee markets appear very different. Both are amongst the two most traded agricultural commodities in the global economy, but the coffee market has grown massively in recent decades, whilst the banana market has only seen very limited growth. Coffee companies have been able to create a huge leap in the total value in the chain, whilst banana remains a sector struggling to create new value.   Thanks to the huge value created by new formats, particularly in the form of coffee pods, the world coffee market has grown to be worth around 200 billion dollars...
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Lidl goes Fairtrade bananas in Germany and Switzerland 27.09.2018
German discount supermarket Lidl has announced that they will only sell Fairtrade bananas in their German and Swiss stores. They have said they will change to 100% Fairtrade bananas in their stores in Germany starting with 330 stores in the South of the country in October 2018 and then expand it to other regions. They will sell a mix of conventional and certified organic Fairtrade bananas. Lidl has over 10,000 stores in Europe and the US, with over 3000 of them in Germany and around 100 in Switzerland. By comparison, they have around 700 stores in the UK, where their current policy is to sell...
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Sainsbury's-Asda merger investigation welcome 20.09.2018
The £15bn merger between Sainsbury's and Asda is to be subjected to an in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who said the deal "raises sufficient concerns to be referred for a more in-depth review".   Following its initial review, the CMA said: "The companies are two of the largest grocery retailers in the UK and their stores overlap in hundreds of local areas, where shoppers could face higher prices or worse quality of service." The supermarkets themselves say prices will fall.   When the merger was originally announced in May this year, Banana Link expressed...
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Plastic-free first for Iceland bananas 14.09.2018
Iceland is claiming a UK supermarket first by introducing plastic-free packaging for its pre-packed bananas.   The frozen food specialist's bananas will now be packaged in a paper band which is 100% recyclable and made from recycled paper, in a switch it says will save 10 million plastic bags a year.   The fruit will be the first product in any major UK supermarket to bear the Plastic Free Trust Mark, launched by A Plastic Planet earlier this year. The mark is designed to inform and empower consumers to make plastic-free choices.   The new packaging has launched in three Iceland stores as an...
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Compagnie Fruitière expands organic production 13.09.2018
The French banana importer has committed to boosting the area of its organic plantations and reducing its use of plant protection products   French banana importer Compagnie Fruitière has laid out its roadmap for sustainable banana production in Africa, prepared alongside environmental non-profit WWF France.   The two groups agreed a partnership last year with the aim of promoting sustainable agriculture, including reducing the use of synthetic fertilisers and plant protection products in its plantations.   The roadmap includes a commitment from Compagnie Fruitière to expand organic farming...
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