Pineapples Case Study
Three quarters of pineapples sold in Europe come from
Costa Rica. But while the price of this exotic fruit is cut in
Europe, a new Consumers International (CI) film made in
collboration with The Guardian and based on
research carried out by Banana Link investigates
working conditions in the pineapple industry and its impact
on communities and the environment in Costa Rica.
Watch Pineapples: Luxury fruit, at what price?
in seven languages:
English, French, Danish, Greek, Dutch-Flemish, Spanish, Polish
Working conditions for pineapple workers are harsh. Workers,
many of them migrants, work long shifts, six days per week and for
less than a living wage. Lower prices in Europe mean lower wages
for workers who only take home 4 cents in every Euro that
consumers spend on pineapples. Unions in Costa Rica are working to
try and improve conditions but workers frequently allege that
membership results in discrimination by producer companies.
Most pineapple production in Costa Rica is large scale and
dependent on regular and intense use of a cocktail of toxic
agrochemicals. As well as affecting the health of workers,
this has a serious impact on the environment, degrading the soil
and polluting water supplies.
Who is responsible?
While workers receive just 4 cents, 96 cents in each Euro spent
on a pineapple go to plantation owners, multinational traders and
retailers - with the latter, mainly supermarkets, receiving the
largest slice at 41 cents.
All actors in the supply chain have an important role to play
including supermarkets. Because they set the prices in stores they
have a clear responsibility to ensure that they are not selling cut
price fruit at the expense of fair living conditions.
Below you can download a summary of case study research carried
out in for CI by Banana Link.
In the CI blog: The filmakers talk
about meeting workers and seeing how they live
Felicity Lawrence talks about the reaction to the film and
investigation into the pineapple industry in Costa Rica on a Guardian blog. Where do the profits go?
The true cost of UK supermarket price wars over bananas and
pineapples are discussed in BBC Radio 4's Food Programme, with Felicity
Lawrence adding her experience from the Costa-Rican
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