From un-fair to All Good: how one company made bananas fair in Aotearoa

17 July 2017

It’s Fair Trade Fortnight (4-17 August 2017) and we thought we’d profile one of our all-time favourite suppliers: All Good Bananas. All Good's fair trade and organically-grown bananas are a HUGE favourite with our customers. We’re big fans of the ethics behind the business, too: we believe that All Good have single-handedly made bananas fair in Aotearoa.

 

All Good Banana founders

All Good Bananas Co-Founders: Matt Morrison, Simon Coley & Chris Morrison 

Where do bananas come from? Why does it matter?

Bananas are the #1 most purchased supermarket product in Aotearoa. They’re also, arguably, one of the least ethical.

New Zealanders find bananas more a-peeling than almost any other country in the world. In fact, we eat 18 kilos of bananas per person, per year!

But for every un-fair banana bought, only 18c per dollar will actually go to the people who grow and harvest the fruit. Without third party certification, there’s no way to tell that growers have safe working conditions or hours. There’s also a risk they may have been grown with child labour or slave labour.

So, what’s a banana-loving Kiwi to do? Do our banana splits have to come with a side-serving of pain and misery? No way. It’s All Good ‘round here.  

 

allgoodbananas

Our all-round All Good favourite fruit

 

All Good: from humble beginnings 

Chris Morrison is an organics entrepreneur from way back, having co-founded Phoenix Organics in the mid-80s. After selling Phoenix in 2005, Chris turned his attention to another corner of the organic market: a yellow bendy one.  

All Good Bananas was officially launched in 2010 by Chris, his brother Matt Morrison and Simon Coley (formerly of 42-below). Together, they began experimenting with importing bananas from Samoa in 2008. While sadly, this was not a viable option, they didn’t back down, looking further afield to Ecuador to source the bananas Commonsense stocks today.

 

Who’s the fairest of them all?

Commonsense has been offering organically-grown bananas since we opened in 1991. Most forms of organic certification also ensure some level of fair working conditions, but not all.

We were delighted when All Good started importing fair trade bananas in 2010. BUT we decided not to stock them, because they weren’t organic! 

8-10 months later we let out a sigh of relief: All Good started bringing in fair trade bananas that were also organically grown. We immediately brought them into our stores and they've been there ever since. Other supermarkets across Aotearoa stock All Good Bananas too (usually the non-organic ones).

 

Image of Banana Farmer Wilson Sanchez

All Good Bananas Farmer Wilson Sanchez 

Straight Bendy from the Ecuadorian Andes

All Good’s organically-grown bananas are grown in the Ecuadorian Andes by farmers like Wilson Sanchez (pictured above).

Fair trade certification ensures that Wilson will receive a fair and stable price for his bananas year-round and USDA organic certification means that environmental criteria must be met too. The growers are audited every year to make sure they’re sticking to the required standards.

In Aotearoa, all imported fruit must be fumigated when it arrives on our shores. This is why we call All Good Bananas “organically-grown” rather than “organic”: the bananas lose their official organic status on arrival to NZ.

 

 

Taylor AGB

Taylor with her favourite product, All Good Bananas, at Commonsense Mt Eden

Want an ethical banana? Make sure it’s All Good!

Since All Good arrived on the scene, other companies have also had a go at promoting their own bananas as ethical. 

At Commonsense, we believe in telling the truth.  Our customers have the right to question claims we make, and that’s why we choose to stock products that have third-party certification, like fair trade accreditation.

The All Good Bananas we stock are certified organically-grown and certified fair trade. That’s why we believe they’re the most ethical choice of banana in Aotearoa. But don't just take our word for it! All Good Organics were named the world’s fairest trader in 2013.

Do you love fair trade as much as we do? Get involved in this year’s Fair Trade Fortnight (4-17 August 2017). We’re putting on a free Wellington Film & Discussion event on Wednesday 9th of August. We’d love to see you there. 

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