Irish retailers’ commitment to Fairtrade bananas criticised  

Retailers have been asked to reveal the percentage of Fairtrade bananas they stock

Consumption of Fairtrade bananas in Ireland is just 8%, compared to 35% in the UK, and 60% in Switzerland, new report reveals



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24 February 2015 | 0

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Irish retailers’ lack of commitment to Fairtrade has been criticised in a report titled ‘Fairtrade Bananas – Time for a Change’. Retailers have been asked to reveal the current percentage of Fairtrade bananas they stock, and to commit to supplying 100% Fairtrade bananas.

The report, which was compiled by The Bureau for the Appraisal of Social Impact for Citizen Information, France (BASIC), the UK based NGO, Banana Link, and Fairtrade Ireland reveals that in spite of 82% awareness of Fairtrade, consumption of Fairtrade bananas in Ireland is just 8%, compared to 35% in the UK, and 60% in Switzerland, which the report directly attributes to the failure of Irish retailers to support Fairtrade.

Bananas are the third most popular fruit consumed in Ireland after apple and citrus, and represent more than 16% of the retail value of fruits sold in the Republic of Ireland each year.

Alistair Smith, international coordinator of BananaLink and report co-author, said the results show 90% of Irish shoppers purchase fresh fruits from a mainstream supermarket.

“If the top Irish retailers, namely Dunnes Stores, Tesco Ireland and Musgraves committed to stocking 100% Fairtrade bananas, similar to European counterparts, this would have a dramatic and significant impact on the livelihoods of workers, families and communities in developing countries,” he said.

Consumer spending on Fairtrade products in Ireland have increased by 12% from €197 million in 2013 to €221 million in 2014, however sales of Fairtrade bananas represent only 5% of total consumer spending on Fairtrade products in Ireland, compared to 60% for coffee and 26% for chocolate. What’s more, a recent Eurobarometer report shows that the Irish are second only to people in Sweden in believing that individuals can play a role in tackling poverty in the developing world.

Tesco Ireland has defended its banana sourcing policy however. A spokeswoman said 14% of Tesco Ireland banana sales were Fairtrade. “The remainder of our bananas are sourced from Costa Rica where we pay our banana growers on average 6% above the Fairtrade minimum prices,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Lidl said 20% of its banana sales were Fairtrade-certified and it was one of the largest retailers of Fairtrade bananas in the State.



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