As British Farming’s largest customer and one of the largest fresh food manufacturers in the UK, support for agriculture in the UK is fundamental to our business. We have direct relationships with British farmers, which both strengthens the agricultural industry and supports rural communities. In 2015, we donated £250,000 through the Morrisons Foundation to The Prince’s Countryside Fund and its Farm Resilience programme to support 4 years’ of workshop activity. The programme aims to support and develop vulnerable family farm businesses through a series of business skills workshops, competitor benchmarking as well as one-to-one support and resource. More information on all our initiatives and projects in this area can found on the Morrisons Farming website.
Since 2015 we have offered our customers the opportunity to support the farming community through purchasing products in our ‘For Farmers’ range, where a clear element of the selling price goes back to farmers. So far this initiative has generated almost £12 million of extra income for our farmers. You can find more information at Morrisons For Farmers
Through our membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative and other programmes, we are actively collaborating with multiple stakeholders to support improvements in working standards and human rights across all our agriculture and farming supply chains.
A great example of this is the work we have undertaken in collaboration with the ETI, the Fresh Produce Consortium, Sedex, suppliers and our competitors to improve standards in temporary accommodation for UK agriculture workers. This has resulted in the creation of easily accessible, best practice guidance for UK growers and small scale farmers on how to assess, improve and maintain the accommodation they provide for seasonal workers, This will be made publicly available through the Sedex platform and launched in early 2019. Plans are already in place to build on this work with further guidance for international growers.
In 2016 we began working with the NGO Bananalink to inform and support the development of our sourcing strategy. They provided key insight into the risk and improvement opportunities in our existing supply chains and arranged for our Commercial team to meet with local NGOs and trade union representatives during sourcing trips to Colombia, Ecuador & Costa Rica. This relationship has led us to move from sourcing all of bananas from multinational companies to now taking 100% from independent growers in Latin America and West Africa, with 50% of this volume supplied through direct relationships with our growers. All our bananas are also now either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified and sales of our packs of Organic Fairtrade Bananas have increased by 35% compared to last year. We intend to increase our proactive engagement in this area through membership of the World Banana Forum in 2019.
In addition to bananas, we sell a wide range of Fairtrade certified products, including all of our “The Best” chocolate bars, ground and whole bean coffee and selection of tea, wine and roses. In addition, all the coffee sold in our cafes and stores is Fairtrade certified, with over 10 million cups sold every year. We will be doubling the sales space available to Fairtrade Bananas in 2019, and will continue to work with Fairtrade in the UK to identify further opportunities to increase our participation in supply chain certification.
We maintain a close working relationship with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), operating with full transparency to address the risk of modern slavery in UK business. They have delivered bespoke training sessions to our HR teams and Morrisons Manufacturing colleagues and supported us in the development of best practice guidance on managing incidents.
More recently, in response to research highlighting poor compliance with the Modern Slavery Act in UK agriculture, we commissioned the GLAA to deliver focussed training sessions for small scale farmers in the lower tiers of this high risk supply chain. The initial session for flower growers in Cambridgeshire was very well received and we have committed to roll out further regional workshops across the UK in 2019.
We are also taking steps to better utilise the resource we already have in our business, by engaging with our At Source Technical colleagues to provide support for in-country projects. We have 12 Morrisons colleagues based around the world with in depth knowledge of local supply chains and strong relationships with small scale farmers.
Our colleagues in Peru and Colombia are actively participating in an ETI research project on good labour practices, worker rights and collective bargaining in Latin America. Research has been taking place throughout the second half of 2018 and the results are expected in April 2019, supported by a number of workshop events for suppliers, industry associations, unions and worker representatives.
Our colleagues in South Africa supported the ETI working group on freedom of association, and more recently have taken up the role of representing Morrisons on the steering group of the anti-slavery initiative Stronger Together, supporting the roll out of their local programme. Through this initiative over 150 workers from our supplying farms and growers have been able to access training and awareness workshops on tackling modern slavery and forced labour.