Dole has been green and sustainable since the 1920s, long before it was trendy, said Bil Goldfield, communications manager for Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit.
Recent agricultural projects include soil amendment, crop rotation, the use of soil solution tubes for the slow release of fertilizer and analyzing plant tissue to determine what amendments the soil really needs to grow specific crops, Goldfield said.
To minimize Dole’s carbon footprint, the company maps and analyzes its activities to locate the sources of carbon emissions and develop alternative practices.
Vehicles and equipment are using more energy-efficient motors, plants and office buildings sport energy-efficient lighting and plantings are being optimized to make the best use of acreage and natural resources.
Sheila Lee, operations business director at Monterey, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Vegetables, said Dole uses soil moisture sensors to determine when water is needed, drip irrigation is replacing overhead sprinklers, and water used in processing is recycled for irrigation.
Packaging is another priority, she said, as the company works to package products safely with as little packaging as possible.