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Waitrose Foundation expands beyond Africa for first time

Supermarket giant Waitrose’s ethical trading initiative ‘Waitrose Foundation’, which invests in farm worker communities, is to extend beyond Africa for the first time in its history.

Costa Rica will become the first country outside Africa to join the foundation, which currently funds projects in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. The Waitrose Foundation logo will appear on all Costa Rican wholehead pineapples.

The long-term supplier to the supermarket, Chestnut Hill Farms, has joined the initiative that invests a share of the sales from all fruit sold in local growers’ communities. People who work on the pineapple farms in Costa Rica could benefit from future foundation funded projects.

The specific projects are chosen in collaboration with workers and their communities and it is thought investment in local education will be a high priority in Costa Rica.

Established in 2005, the ‘Waitrose Foundation’ is a partnership between the supermarket and its suppliers, which uses a proportion of sales to help improve the lives of farm workers and their families. Over £10m has been raised for local initiatives.

Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing, said “customers will know when they buy our Costa Rican wholehead pineapples that the workers who grow them are benefitting directly.”

He added: ‘‘From building schools for the children of farmers in Ghana to healthcare clinics for workers in South Africa the Waitrose Foundation is excited to be expanding these benefits to 12 further countries by 2020.”

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