Longo’s Brothers Fruit Market has become the first grocery retailer in North America to only offer Fairtrade bananas in its 36 stores and Gateway delivery. This is being done through a partnership with Equifruit, a Canadian ethical fruit sourcing company.
The commitment will mean that the farmers and communities sourcing bananas will be getting fair and sustainable income.
“We aim to be the most trusted and relied upon food partner, and that includes setting sustainability precedents,” says Mike Longo, chief merchandising officer at Longo’s. “We’re proud to be the first North American retailer to initiate what is becoming a global purchasing standard for bananas.”
Fairtrade intends to create more respectful trading partnerships with producers and consumers. To meet standards, banana producers must provide fair wages, safe working conditions, forbid child labour, minimize chemical use and help sustain the local environment.
“Produce has always been the backbone of our business, and responsible sourcing is not only incredibly important to us but is at the core of our family values,” says Mimmo Franzone, director of produce and floral at Longo’s. “We are proud to be taking these important steps with Equifruit to ensure we can continue to fuel happier and healthier lives around the globe for years to come.”
This comes after a pilot by Longo’s of Fairtrade only bananas and positive feedback from customers. It will be offering both conventional and organic Fairtrade bananas.
Consumers are demanding more ethically sourced products. This decision is predicted to set a new standard for produce in the supply chain in North America.
The decision is also aligned with Fairtrade Month, which happens each May in Canada.
This is the latest in other sustainability initiatives from Longo’s, including waste diversion, using renewable energy and donating to the community.
Equifruit and Longo’s will reinvest one dollar back into communities where bananas are produced for every 40 lb case sold. The money will be used for clean water, schools and health clinics.