As well as supporting British producers and farmers, the supermarket said it is helping the “most vulnerable” communities in developing countries that supply food and other products through the Waitrose Foundation.
Among its initiatives, Waitrose will be providing financial aid to its most vulnerable global farming communities, and has unlocked £200,000 from the Waitrose Foundation Global Fund to support its overseas farming communities in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Additionally, the grocer said it will introduce quicker payments to its most vulnerable suppliers. Waitrose said that through its membership of the Prompt Payment Code, it was already committed to paying all of its smallest suppliers within seven days.
It will also offer continued support to farming bodies and charities in the UK. Members of the Waitrose team are actively engaged with several working groups, including retailers, key farming organisations such as the NFU and other stakeholders.
Waitrose will continue to provide strategic and financial support to key farming charities, including Addington Fund, Farming Community Network, Forage Aid, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, and RSABI, supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund.
Rupert Thomas, director of food and grocery at Waitrose, said: “The John Lewis Partnership was founded on the principle that we have a responsibility to others and that we must treat people fairly, which extends to our partners, customers, suppliers and the communities that we trade with, including those outside of the UK.
“This pandemic poses the greatest humanitarian and economic threat of our generation and, whilst we face many difficult decisions, as a collective industry we must continue to look at ways we can help to protect people and their livelihoods during this unprecedented time.”
He added: “The measures we have put in place are just the start and we will continue to do everything we can to provide support to our suppliers and the people who form part of them, particularly those that are most vulnerable.”