Dole to Make Banana and Pineapple Supply Chain Carbon Neutral

Dole to Make Banana and Pineapple Supply Chain Carbon Neutral

Dole Food Co. announced plans Friday to make its banana and pineapple supply chain carbon neutral.

Standard Fruit de Costa Rica, the company's Costa Rican operating subsidiary, will work with the country's National Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO) to wipe out the emissions from the fruits' production, packing, transport and distribution to European and North American markets.

"Companies, consumers, governments and non-governmental organizations should endeavor to promote and adopt new production and distribution methods and consumption behavior in order to reverse harmful trends to the environment," said David DeLorenzo, Dole's president and CEO, in a statement. "As the world's largest producer and distributor of fruits and vegetables, Dole is determined to take the lead in its sector and the agreement with FONAFIFO is a good starting point."

FONAFIFO and Dole, with $6.2 billion in 2006 revenue, will focus on mitigation practices that increase carbon dioxide capture, such as more efficient transportation methods, altering agricultural processes to lower emissions and implementing preservation and reforestation programs with Costa Rican farmers.

"Dole is such an important company in the production of bananas and pineapples on a global level that we are very enthusiastic that Standard Fruit made the decision to strive to become a carbon neutral company here in Costa Rica and join our efforts to become the first carbon neutral country in the world by 2021," said Environmental and Energy of Costa Rica Minister Robert Dobles.

The announcement is the latest in a series of steps the company has taken to soften its environmental footprint since it enacted its environmental policy in 1996.

In late July, for instance, it announced its company-owned banana farms in Colombia were certified to meet the Social Accountability International SA 8000 workplace and human rights standard. All banana and pineapple plantations in Costa Rica and the Philippines meet this standard, as well as its Hua Hin cannery in Thailand.

Ethisphere Magazine, which focuses on the correlation between ethics and profit, named Dole one of the world's most ethical companies while Forbes commended Dole’s owner, David Murdoch, for corporate citizenship.

The company, however, is not without its critics. In April, it defended itself in a press release against a report alleging environmental and labor-related shortcomings.