Aldi joins World Banana Forum to strengthen supply chain

Aldi UK and Ireland has backed its commitment to sourcing 100% sustainable bananas by joining a global forum that promotes fair working conditions and environmental standards for banana production.

The World Banana Forum (WBF) encourages retailers, importers, trade unions and producers to collaborate to promote best practice for working conditions and sustainability standards across the industry’s supply chain.

By joining the forum, Aldi will work with Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance amongst others to strengthen the supply chain for its purchased bananas.

Aldi’s managing director of corporate responsibility Oliver King said: “The World Banana Forum exists to create a sustainable future for suppliers and workers across the banana supply chain. We share this common goal and it is one of the main reasons why we source all of our bananas from either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance-certified farms.”   

The WBF is affiliated to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and also covers areas such as gender equality. The forum notes that agrochemical-intensive production along with declining producer prices have created problems in the supply chain of bananas, which are the world’s most exported fresh fruit, generating $10bn annually.

In the UK, the general public throws away 1.4 million edible bananas every day, according to research from Sainsbury’s, which values the waste stream to cost around £80m a year. Aldi is just one of the retailers that has pledged to source 100% sustainable bananas, as have rival retailers Lidl and Asda.

last year, Aldi revealed that it had completed a switch to using only 100% sustainable palm oil in food products, while all its canned tuna is caught using sustainable fishing methods.

Wider actions

Sustainable and ethical procurement is just one part of Aldi’s corporate strategy. The retailer invested £20m in natural refrigerants which will be installed across all of its UK stores to reduce its environmental impact. The transition to CO2 refrigeration units will see Aldi’s potential refrigerant gas carbon emissions cut by 99%.

Aldi is also reducing its carbon footprint by generating onsite renewable energy. The company will install 96,000 solar panels across more than 50 UK stores by the end of 2017. It builds on the 85,000 units already installed across 275 stores and all nine of Aldi’s regional distribution centres, which generate more than 17,500MWh of electricity a year.

The installations will take Aldi’s total store investment in solar to almost £17m, and will enable the retail giant to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 6,200 households.

Matt Mace

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