Chiquita has released an updated sustainability report.
The 29-page report, available online, describes the company’s “Behind the Blue Sticker” initiative, according to a news release.
The document describes Chiquita’s on-farm projects, including assistance for grower communities and environmental certifications. Those certifications began with the Rainforest Alliance standard more than 20 years ago, according to the release. The company’s farms now are all Global Gap certified.
Even the lowest paid Chiquita workers receive pay exceeding the calculated “living wage” of their home countries by 30%, according to the release. Chiquita’s “No Banana Wasted” program improves the quality of banana bunches and cuts the amount of fruit not suitable for export or eating locally, according to the release.
The company also is supporting women’s empowerment and child rights.
“The company was also the first to undertake the independent child rights assessment developed by UNICEF in Costa Rica and Panama,” the release said. “Deeply embedded in the communities that support its farms, Chiquita is committed to employee safety and well-being, and has adopted strong anti-bullying and whistleblower protection measures.”
The report said that Chiquita is investing in water-saving technologies on farms that require irrigation. The company reported that mini- and micro-irrigation technology currently covers about 6.5% of irrigated land, according to the report. In addition, the company said it reduced the amount of agri-chemicals used per acre by 13% between 2014 to 2017.
In the report, Chiquita described its efforts to fight against TR4, a banana disease that threatens crops.
“Recognizing that the long-term solution to the TR4 problem lies not just in a cure but also in developing completely new banana varieties, we recently announced that we are cooperating with the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands) to work on possible new solutions,” the report said.