Supermarkets provide insight into the living wage gap for their bananas

The Dutch supermarkets under our Banana Retail Commitment on Living Wage have provided insight into the gap between current wages and the living wage.

The participating supermarkets, their leading suppliers and associated producers worked together in the first year to better understand the living wages in the banana sector. Some 117 banana farms from five countries provided insights on their current wages. These farms employ around 15,000 workers. Analysis shows that 39% of the workers experience a living wage gap. The average gap is 9%.

This provides clear baseline information to these supermarkets, who are now further engaging with their suppliers to close the living wage gaps.

These supermarkets, suppliers and producers are demonstrating that it is possible to engage in collaborative efforts to advance in their living wage journeys. This is an important part of our living wage work that will lead to action on the ground to improve workers’ wellbeing.

Ronald Sanabria, senior program manager at IDH


IDH’s Salary Matrix was utilized to lift information on remuneration and living wage gaps.

Next steps

The 117 farms cover 42% of all bananas purchased by the Dutch supermarkets. With the living wage gap for this portion of the banana supply chain determined, the group will take several steps, including the rollout of the Salary Matrix to cover 100% of the bananas sold in the Dutch market, and further cooperation among retailers and supply chain partners to identify root causes and solutions to close the living wage gaps.

We believe that the starting point is by implementing data-driven approaches and tools that enable informed conversations with all relevant parties. With these insights now at hand, partners can rollout efforts to find solutions to close living wage gaps under a shared responsibility approach.

Ronald Sanabria from IDH

The Commitment

End 2019, Dutch supermarkets joined forces to secure a living wage for banana workers in their international supply chains. The goal of supermarkets is, by 2025, to predominantly sell bananas that are sourced from plantations that pay a living wage to their workers.

The commitment was signed by Albert Heijn, Superunie, Boni, Boon, Coop, Deen, Hoogvliet, Jan Linders, Jumbo, Plus, Poiesz, Sligro, Spar, Vomar, and the Dutch Food Retail Association (CBL), and is managed by IDH. The commitment follows the Dutch RBC Agreement for the Food Products Sector.

We are proud of providing insight into the wages in the banana chain. However, we only cover part of the chain. In order to really make a living wage part of the banana chain, it is important that as many supermarkets and supply chain partners as possible get to work on this topic. Collaboration with certification schemes such as Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade is also essential. We cannot do this alone.

Jennifer Muller, Sustainability Manager at CBL

More information

Click here to find out more on the Banana Retail Commitment on Living Wage. Or read the Baseline Report for the first phase insights and learnings.