The Waitrose Foundation

Young children waving and holding a football

The Waitrose Foundation is a partnership created in 2005 to help improve the lives of the farm workers and smallholders who grow our produce in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. During a speech he made in parliament Winston Churchill once said, “we make a living by what we get and we make a life by what we give” - and how appropriate are these words when considering the work being done by the Waitrose Foundation.

Instead of funding through a price premium, Waitrose - in conjunction with growers, importers and exporters, passes a percentage of profits into a trust to pay for projects. These include educational, social and healthcare projects, and are chosen by farm workers and smallholder committees. Money raised by the sale of Waitrose Foundation produce is therefore spent on projects that are chosen by and directly benefit the farm workers and smallholders.

What makes the Foundation a success?

  • Sustainability of the model linked to the commercial arm - it is not a handout
    The fund that goes to farm workers and smallholders for projects is directly related to the volumes of produce they supply to Waitrose seasonally or annually. The stakeholders in the supply chain contribute to the fund out of their profits; not the custom.
  • Decision making power vested in worker committees and a bottom-up approach
    Projects are decided by smallholders and farm workers themselves for themselves.
  • Personal involvement of Foundation team and the resultant relationship created and maintained
    Farms are visited regularly by Waitrose and our suppliers to build and maintain good relationships. The Foundation team makes a special effort to attend all events where the farm workers invite them, eg ABET graduations, concerts, sports matches and tournaments, sports days and other community activities.

What's in it for Waitrose?

In order for Waitrose to continue to buy produce from these countries in the long term, it is vital we invest in the farm workers and small holders that grow it. South Africa, Kenya and Ghana are important sources of produce for Waitrose - the diverse climates and landscapes enable a wide range of products to be grown. It is key for us to secure the future of these sources as those countries move through great changes.

The Waitrose Foundation is an example of how Waitrose works in partnership with its supply base to build sustainable relationships

How can I find Waitrose Foundation products?

Look out for the Waitrose Foundation logos on oranges, lemons, clementines, red, pink and white grapefruit, satsumas, grapes, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, avocados and dried mango, prepared fruit, green vegetables and flowers. Please note that these products have seasonal availability. Also available are two Foundation wines from the Cederburg estate and Waitrose Foundation marmalade.

Is this scheme part of Fairtrade?

No, Waitrose Foundation produce is branded as Waitrose and complements the Fairtrade range. Our scheme is fully funded by Waitrose and the other parties in our supply chain, and is a natural extension of our existing trading principles. You can learn more here about how Waitrose supports Fairtrade.