Dole Food Company, Inc. announced today the formation of the Company’s Office of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability which will look to build upon its existing environmental initiatives at company-owned farms around the world.
Replacing Dole’s office of Corporate Social Responsibility, the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability efforts will continue to support a wide range of programs vital to our employees and local communities including infrastructure development, nutrition and health initiatives, micro-financing and community development, support of schools and education programs, and sport & cultural events. Additional focus will be given to three priority initiatives, including carbon footprint reduction, soil conservation and water management. Roberto Vega will serve as Dole’s Director of Sustainability, reporting to Sylvain Cuperlier, Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability.
The Company felt the move was warranted given its desire to drive even more results in its sustainability activities. “Years of continuous research at Dole provide our Company with a competitive advantage in these areas. Most of these programs do not only contribute to better protect the environment but they also contribute to decrease our production costs” said David A. DeLorenzo, President and CEO of Dole Food Company, Inc.
To date some of the key initiatives that fall under these priorities areas include:
- Conducting a comprehensive calculation of product carbon footprints from production through the supply chain while implementing programs to improve refrigeration systems, utilize controlled-released fertilizers and educate truck drivers on efficient driving techniques. Dole has already certified the carbon footprint of bananas produced in Costa Rica and distributed in Germany. The analysis includes farming, packing, inland and ocean transportation, port operations, ripening and distribution to retail. Dole Asia is also going through a similar process for the bananas produced in the Philippines.
- Leading reforestation initiatives in our production countries to help offset greenhouse gas emissions. For example, in Costa Rica Dole owns and protects over 2,400 hectares of natural and commercial forest, reforested areas and buffer zones and in the Philippines over 1,000,000 trees have been planted through reforestation efforts.
- Practicing conservation management efforts to protect soil and water management techniques at packing plants and farms.
- Launching the New Millennium Packing Plant which consumes approximately 80% less water compared to conventional packing plants. This significant advancement is also being adopted in Dole Asia operations.
- Establishing recycling programs. For example, on an annual basis Dole recycles approximately 300 tons of plastic in Ecuador, 1,500 tons in Costa Rica and 1,100 tons in Honduras. In the Philippines, plastic strapping, used to secure palletized fruit, are recycled and weaved into various handicrafts which support small business cooperatives.
- The Company is also participating in a Norwegian initiative aimed at measuring the environmental impact of Dole’s bananas distributed in Norway. This initiative, led by Østfoldforskning, a Norwegian research institute, is based on a Life Cycle Assessment approach and includes impacts beyond the greenhouse gases emissions.
Dole is committed to assessing its practices and developing ambitious goals in these important areas. The Company will periodically share its performance and seek collaborative feedback from governments, customers, investors and other stakeholders. Further information on more of Dole’s initiatives can be found at www.dolecsr.com.
Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
In the U.S. Contact: Marty Ordman
In Europe Contact: Marie-Noelle Fixler