Great news in Belgium this week as consumers will now be able to buy a “super banana”. This special banana is not only good for producers, but also for the environment and the climate! Indeed, Port International is launching the first ever Fairtrade and organic banana in Belgium that is also carbon neutral. This new banana is a perfect fit for Belgian consumers who prefer their food to be healthy, environmentally friendly and good for the producers1. Delhaize will be the first Belgian retailer to offer this super sustainable banana to its customers. Fairtrade Belgium applauds this effort and hopes that this will add to sector-wide commitments in favor of sustainability.
From now on, consumers will be able to buy super bananas in Belgium. Bananas that are both Fairtrade and organic have been available in Belgian supermarkets for a long time and the BE CLIMATE carbon-neutral bananas have been available at Delhaize for over a year now. Combining both is the next step. Carbon-neutrality means that their carbon footprint is calculated, strategies to reduce this footprint are developed and implemented and that the remaining CO2 emissions are compensated by supporting CO2 offset projects. Port International invests in certified projects on reforestation and clean drinking water that meet the highest standards.
“Fairtrade and organic certifications are essential parts of our DNA. We have been trading with both organic and Fairtrade bananas for over 20 years now, being pioneers in Europe. With BE CLIMATE, we want to take sustainability to the next level and protect the Earth that we all live on. In order to reduce climate change, we have to stop talking and act. We have a very long way to go but this is the beginning and with our super banana everyone can make a contribution,” explains Karlsson Port from Port International.
The fact that Delhaize is pioneering this super banana in Belgium does not come as a surprise: “Becoming carbon-neutral is one of the three main ambitions within our Lions Footprint program,” says Xavier Piesvaux, CEO of Delhaize. “By taking actions in order to reduce our carbon footprint, we can create an immediate positive impact. Launching carbon-neutral products gives our ambitions extra visibility. By buying these products, customers can contribute themselves to a healthier planet, step by step.”
Environmental and social sustainability
“Whilst CO2 neutrality is definitely an important step in the right direction, it is the combination with Fairtrade and organic that makes us go bananas,” says Nicolas Lambert, Director at Fairtrade Belgium. “This banana combines a healthy climate and environment with social justice for producers. Fairtrade producers show that it is possible to produce bananas with a social and environmental impact thanks to the Fairtrade system2.”
At the core of social justice in the banana sector is the need for banana producers to have access to a living income. This means that farmers should have sufficient revenues to cover all essential costs (food and water, clothing, housing, etc.) plus a little extra to create a buffer for unforeseen expenses. In many ways, this is the main condition for both social AND environmental sustainability as studies have shown that agriculture becomes more environmentally friendly if the producers have access to a decent income. Consumers of the super banana can therefore be assured: buying this banana will be good for banana producers, the environment AND the climate. A trade-off between different aspects of sustainability is no longer needed.
“Although we welcome this new step towards sustainability in the banana sector, and we applaud the bold initiative by Port International and Delhaize, we believe that more efforts are needed to make sure that all bananas sold in Belgium abide to ambitious sustainability criteria,” comments Fairtrade Belgium.
According to a research of Fairtrade, 62% of the Belgian population believes that the COVID crisis should push governments to encourage a transition towards sustainable food systems3. Respecting the rights of farmers and workers in the agri-food system and in particular the right to a decent income should therefore be at the core of this transition.
It is time for all Belgian actors involved in the banana value chain to commit together to sustainability and to set ambitious goals. But in the meantime, let’s be on the lookout for these new colorful BE CLIMATE and Fairtrade labelled bananas!
About Fairtrade Belgium
Fairtrade Belgium is an NGO that is part of the Fairtrade International network. Its primary mission is to bring together farmers and workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as businesses, industry and consumers to develop a sustainable economy that puts people and the planet at the center of trade relations. By proposing a fairer model of trade – recognizable through the Fairtrade label – the goal is to bring farmers and workers to our supply chains to obtain at least a living income. To achieve this goal, Fairtrade also raises awareness among Belgian citizens and civil society actors about Fairtrade as a tool to jointly achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
About Port International
As a fruit importer based in Hamburg, whose owner family has been active in the fruit trade since 1875, Port International supplies fruit wholesalers and supermarket chains across Europe with fruit and
vegetables from all continents of the world. Port is one of the European market leaders in the fields of organic and Fairtrade products, and in 2019 launched BE CLIMATE, the first brand for climate-neutral fruit.