In Germany, a lot is already being done to increase the sustainability of the banana supply chain. A large proportion, of the bananas available here, is distinguished by different sustainability certifications. Nevertheless, many challenges still pertain to the value chain.
- Workers on plantations often do not earn enough to live with their families
- Minimum wages are underscored by unpaid overtime
- Discrimination of women and migrant workers
- Workers often feel pressure not to organise in trade unions
Environmental influences of banana cultivation
- Most bananas are cultivated in monocultures on huge plantations. This makes them particularly susceptible to pests and requires a high use of plant protection products.
- These chemicals are frequently/not uncommonly sprayed by aircraft and spread throughout the region. Workers who are on the plantation during this time or shortly after the application of pesticides on the plantation are also being affected.
- There is a lot of waste as the bananas are wrapped in plastic bags for protection during growth. They are also contaminated with pesticides.
- It leads to groundwater contamination and the destruction of aquatic ecosystems due to the use of agrochemicals as well as the erosion of the soil due to their unilateral use.
- The supply chain of bananas is global and spans a wide range of stakeholders. There is often a lack of transparency in cost distribution along the supply chain.
- Few European retailers control a large part of the market giving them a great influence on the entire value chain, from the conditions of production to communication to consumers in the supermarket.
- Small-scale farmers are often faced with the challenge of quality and quantity requirements of exporters with large, highly professional plantations. This is much more difficult for small farmers because of their cultivation and organisation structures.