The Latin American Banana Sustainability Taskforce, a consortium of banana producers and exporters of Latin America, has strongly criticised German retailer Lidl for selling a kilo of Rainforest Alliance-certified bananas below €1, arguing that such a low price damages efforts to make the banana supply chain more sustainable and undermines the principle of shared responsibility.
In the week of 13 March, Lidl published an offer in which it advertises a kilo of bananas certified by the Rainforest Alliance at €0.95 – a 35% reduction compared to the original price of €1.45/kg.
In a statement, the taskforce said: “We recognise and respect the right and freedom of all the actors in the value chain to decide their prices and advertise temporary promotions in line with their business plans. However, we would like to highlight the fact that this type of promotion undermines the efforts and investments made by small, medium and large Latin American producers and exporters in the sustainability of the banana sector, and does not honour the engagement made by European supermarkets to support such sustainability efforts through the implementation of Shared Responsibility and consumer education.”
The taskforce said such promotions “send a distorted message to consumers as regards the true value of the product and contradicts the concepts of ‘fair price’ and ‘living wage’ retailers committed to, which are essential to ensure the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the banana sector”.
It further warned that they could be taken as a reference model by other retailers, thereby further undermining the principle of shared responsibility.
“We all have to work together for a banana at a fair price, which reflects the efforts of the entire value chain, and specifically, the producers and workers of the Latin American banana sector,” the taskforce noted.