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06 Jul 2023

Assessing the influence of purchasing practices of grocery retailers on producers

Together with Inclsve, Fair & Sustainable Consulting’s Marjoleine Motz did research for GIZ on the influence of purchasing practices by retailers on producers. The report specifically looked at banana suppliers from Ecuador, and cocoa producers in Ghana as examples of two different supply chains, and includes special attention for smallholder producers.

Besides looking at studies done, and at what sustainable standards or ethical fora are advocating as ethical trading relationships, we interviewed different stakeholders like retailers, traders, processors and producers to get their views, and compare them with the desk research. To reach out to a broader audience we also distributed surveys, and held workshops in both countries, to hear the voices of those at origin. Especially the workshops gave us good examples of how purchasing processes develop in practice, what happens when producers invest in more sustainable production and clients find it hard to pay for those efforts, or when clients are unable to pay a price which allows producers to maintain those levels of sustainability. It felt sometimes as if ‘practice what you preach’ was lacking.

On that basis we drafted recommendations regarding sustainable and responsible purchasing practices, with a division of ‘must haves’ and ‘ideal to have’; to show that buyers can develop how they interact with producers and exporters, and see improvements in their sustainability process. These recommendations were discussed with all stakeholders involved to formulate the final version of the study.

The final report can be read here.

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