Chiquita honors its global responsibility by continuing its sustainability practices that have led the industry for nearly three decades. Building on the foundation of the brand’s “Behind the Blue Sticker” approach, Chiquita is releasing its updated sustainability report, highlighting its efforts to maintain sustainability from farm to table. Chiquita’s commitment to promote sustainability is not new, making this report an update on previous efforts rather than a radical departure from previous reports.
“As a leader in the produce industry, Chiquita is committed to addressing its impact on the communities in which we cultivate our bananas, as well as the planet” says Jamie Postell, director of sales North America for Chiquita. “By implementing various initiatives that follow our long-term approach, Chiquita is able to take exemplary steps towards a more sustainable future.”
How Chiquita leads the industry on major environmental and social issues:
Chiquita’s “Farmers Code” pillar focuses on its agricultural operations and “Being a Good Neighbor” to its communities. Following the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) declaration to make 2020 the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health, Chiquita’s “For the Greater Good” initiative demonstrates the brand’s leadership to combat TR4 – a disease that infects banana crops and threatens the livelihoods and sustenance of 400 million people. These initiatives are embedded in all operations, utilizing partnerships with key organizations offering expertise in areas such as agriculture, humanitarianism, biodiversity and more.
For the past 20 years, Chiquita has also held the industries only International framework agreement with international trade union federations: the IUF and COLSIBA. By maintaining these relationships, Chiquita can once again report that wages for even the lowest paid worker exceeds a living wage by an average of 30%.
Chiquita is also leading the way in women’s empowerment and children’s rights. The brand proactively champions women’s rights and work toward the elimination of gender pay gaps, taking a zero-tolerance approach toward violence, discrimination and sexual harassment. The company was also the first to undertake the independent child rights assessment developed by UNICEF in Costa Rica and Panama. Deeply embedded in the communities that support its farms, Chiquita is committed to employee safety and wellbeing, and has adopted strong anti-bullying and whistle blower protection measures.
Biodiversity is also a fundamental practice for Chiquita; the company pioneered the elimination of forest clearance for agricultural expansion and is committed to protecting and restoring forests and vital ecosystems. Environmentally beneficial agricultural practices are also used to minimize the impact of operations, for example, by implementing product rotation and pest management.
The company’s “No Banana Wasted” goal aims to eliminate banana waste entirely and is on track to be achieved in 2020. New practices have improved the quality of banana bunches, which has greatly reduced the number of unsuitable bananas for export or local donation.
In committing to sector-leading approaches, the company’s sustainability efforts are also helping to meet the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) – for example, SDG 6, which ensures sustainable management of water and sustainable management for all, particularly by substantially reducing pollution, increasing water use efficiency and protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems.