April 1st 2020 ・ 10 min reading
The European launch will take place at the Fruit Logistica fair in Berlin, Germany. Chiquita’s report focuses on the company’s main vehicle for sustainability, its ‘Behind the Blue Sticker’ approach, contained within it are pioneering practices that have led the industry since the 1990s.
The Farmers Code pillar focuses on its operations, Being a Good Neighbour on Chiquita’s relationship with communities and For the Greater Good on its industry engagements to tackle TR4. This approach, embedded in all operations, embraces partnerships with key organizations and is underpinned by Chiquita’s many standards and accreditations. This started with Rainforest Alliance certification of its farms over 20 years ago, in 1994 and now includes SA8000 and Global Gap certification for all farms.
This is no new approach, so this report is an update rather than a radical departure from previous reports. It is only possible to create and report on long term impacts by having a long-term approach and for this to be embedded in everything Chiquita does. Reflections on this approach from Prof. Philipp Aerni of the University of Zurich are found at the start of the report.
Chiquita leads the industry on major environmental and social issues.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared 2020 the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), so it is fitting that Chiquita reports here on its activities to boost the industry-leading fight against TR4, a banana disease that threatens the livelihoods and sustenance of 400 million people.
For nearly 20 years Chiquita has held the industries only International Framework agreement with international trade union federations the IUF and COLSIBA. The benefits to both parties are multiple. Chiquita is able to again report on wages that even for the lowest paid worker on average exceed a living wage by 30%.
The company’s ‘No Banana Wasted’ goal is on track to be achieved this year: new practices have improved the quality of banana bunches and greatly reduced the number not suitable for export or eating locally.
Biodiversity is also fundamentally important to Chiquita: the company pioneered the elimination of forest clearance for agricultural expansion and is committed to protecting and restoring forests and vital ecosystems. Good agricultural practices are also used to minimize the impact of operations on biodiversity: for example, by product rotation and integrating precision agriculture with pest management.
Chiquita is also leading the way in women’s empowerment and child rights: they proactively champions women’s rights and work towards the elimination of gender pay gaps, and takes a zero-tolerance approach to 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.
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, ensuring the availability and 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.