Open ABNB Meeting on 30 November 2021: The sustainable banana – what does it cost us?
The global pandemic, climate change and associated costs pose multiple challenges on the banana sector. Simultaneously, there is the aim to improve working and living conditions by introducing living wages. During the Open ABNB Meeting on 30 November in Berlin, more than 50 representatives from production, trade, politics, standard setters and civil society discussed how to tackle these issues and which concrete measures have already been initiated.
Felicitas Röhrig, Policy Officer at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), opened the event, expressing the ministry’s expectation that companies implement the recently passed German Due Diligence Act. Likewise, she said, due to tangible challenges posed by climate change in the banana supply chain, it is important to work effectively on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and, most importantly, on adaptation strategies.
With its new manual, the ABNB will support producers in adapting their production to climatic challenges and contribute to strengthening their resilience. At the same time, climate-relevant measures such as composting, cover crops, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), buffer zones, but also plastic reduction will be integrated into existing sustainability standards for banana production. Through a sector-wide commitment, the ABNB also aims to drive the implementation of such measures as well as purchases of “climate-friendly” bananas by the retailers.
The second part of the event centered on its title “The sustainable banana – what does it cost us?” A panel discussion between Felicitas Röhrig (BMZ), Emerson Aguirre, President of the Colombian Producers’ Association Augura, and Michael Fellner, Buying Director Global Sourcing of ALDI South Group, received great attention. Throughout the discussion, it became clear that, due to increasing costs for transport, packaging and wages, current prices barely cover the production costs for bananas. Different stakeholders would like to tackle this issue through more transparency and a continuous dialogue along the banana supply chain. As part of the German Retailers Working Group, seven companies are committed to paying living wages and incomes in agricultural supply chains. A project on living wages in Ecuador serves as a blueprint for further activities. An important component of this project is to close potential wage gaps. The Living Wage Costing Tool developed by GIZ supports producers in exploring different scenarios for closing wage gaps and simulates corresponding costs.
The members of the ABNB would like to thank all participants for their valuable contributions to a thoroughly successful event!