This past week, Dole Food Company hosted more than 30 academics, researchers, members of NGOs, opinion leaders and Costa Rican officials during a three-day sustainability summit in Costa Rica. Participants were given full access to several Dole facilities, where presentations and field demonstrations emphasized the Company’s latest innovations and research efforts in water management, soil conservation, carbon footprint reduction and waste handling.
Included in the trip were site visits to El Muelle Pineapple Plantation, Rio Frio Banana Farm and its New Millennium Packing Plant, one of Fundecor’s reforestation and conservation project and the Dole Chile Container Vessel at the Port of Moin. The itinerary was constructed to highlight Dole’s efforts in reducing the carbon and water footprints in pineapple and banana production from farm to retailer.
“This past weekend was an excellent opportunity for Dole to share its latest developments in sustainability and engage through an open dialogue with our guests about the ‘Four Pillars of Sustainability,'” said Sylvain Cuperlier, Dole’s Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. “With input from key stakeholders, such our guests this past weekend, we hope to continue the development of new programs and methods for improving the sustainability of our products and business all over the world.”
The program concluded on June 13 with a panel discussion on corporate responsibility and sustainability. Dole project partners, such as the Rainforest Alliance, Soil & More and Ostfold Research, presented existing projects that are monitoring and improving the way Dole executes farming in Costa Rica.
“One of the most impressive elements of this trip has been the trust Dole has built through transparency,” said Tobias Bandel, Managing Partner from Soil & More. “This weekend, Dole has opened up their facilities for stakeholders with differing opinions. They provided honest answers and indicated a sincere desire to continue their commitment to sustainable agriculture.”
Members from the Dole Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability team will remain in Costa Rica through the week as speakers at the GLOBE conference on the intersect of business and the environment. The GLOBE 2011 event will focus specifically on Latin America. The Dole team will be presenting the pros and cons of using sustainability as a competitive advantage and on sustainable water management.