Case a: Siwa Outlets, Finland

Fair Trade banana

UPSTREAM: Choice Editing

Who: Suomen Lähikauppa, Siwa outlets

Country: Finland

Objective: Suomen Lähikauppa owns three retail chains with many small outlets. Of these, Siwa outlets (of which there are 540 nation-wide) are the smallest outlet type. Customers are often small households, elderly people or even children. Siwa outlest are part of the local community. The company has carefully followed customers’ expectations concerning Fair Trade products. The making of ethical choices was seen as fitting the profile of this chain very well. Thus, the objective was to offer only Fair Trade bananas in all Siwa retail outlets.

Description of initiative: Siwa was the first retail chain in Europe to change its entire assortment to 100% Fair Trade bananas. Bananas are the largest fruit group in terms of sales. This choice was made as part of the overall environmental strategy of the group, which focuses on small, concrete actions rather than green rhetoric. The choice to offer only Fair Trade bananas also fits into the strategy of small outlets with a limited range of products.

This type of action is called choice editing: customers are only offered the sustainable alternative. The response from store managers and customers has been positive, and the Fair Trade bananas are reasonably priced.

Product selections are made one year at a time. Since 2005, only Fair Trade bananas have been offered. There have also been experiments with offering only Fair Trade oranges, but some customers wanted particular oranges at particular times of the year. There has also been a shift within the chain to allow store managers a larger choice in products. Hence, ‘conventional’ oranges are also offered today alongside the Fair Trade oranges. Suomen Lähikauppa has also promoted other kinds of Fair Trade products.

Effect of initiative: The responses of store managers and customers have been positive. The decision gained a lot of positive attention in the media when it was made. In 2006, Siwa was awarded by Fairtrade Finland, the national association promoting Fair Trade, with the annual award for promoting Fair Trade.

The decision by Siwa made a large impact on the market for Fair Trade bananas, as Siwa sells about 4,3% of the bananas in Finland (and 24% of all Fair Trade bananas). According to Fairtrade Finland, during the first half year (June-December 2006), Siwa outlets generated more than 300 000 € in revenues to growers of Fair Trade bananas in Equador and Costa Rica.

The rules of the Fair Trade certification ensure that small farmers and plantation workers receive fair pay for their work and that part of the revenues are devoted to making production and local communities more sustainable. Siwa’s decision, on its part, has contributed to the wide popularity of Fair Trade bananas in Finland. Today, they have a market share of 17% of all banana sales.

Time period: 2005-2010

Future work: Product selections and price negotiations are conducted annually. However, it is not likely that Siwa would give up offering Fair Trade bananas in the foreseeable future.

More information:

Contact: Sanna Kuosa ( Obfuscated Email )


Sanna Kuosa