Monday 30th July 2012, 11:39 London
Fairtrade marks Sainsbury's switch
It has now been five years since the UK retailer shifted to Fairtrade bananas, contributing nearly €5m a year in premiums
Five years ago last week, UK retailer Sainsbury's switched all its bananas to Fairtrade, while also establishing its Fair Development Fund to provide support for Fairtrade producer groups.
According to Harriet Lamb, the newly appointed CEO of Fairtrade International, the Sainsbury's switch to Fairtrade proved to be a "great boost" for producers.
"It provided them with the reassurance that they have a committed partner who wants to buy their bananas," she said. "It also set the pace for other retailers in the UK, but also overseas."
Sainsbury's banana sales have contributed some £3.85m (€4.92m) a year in Fairtrade premiums alone, says Lamb, leading to investment in development projects in producer countries.
In the Windward Islands, Lamb said that the fairtrade premium had gone into schools, hospitals, public transport and sports facilities.
Approximately 10m Fairtrade bananas from the Windward Islands and South America are expected to be consumed at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.