The first Costa Rican Business Forum on Sustainability and the Environment (Foro Empresarial sobre Sostenibilidad y Ambiente), held on 16 March, welcomed Dole Food Company to the stage to discuss the group’s sustainability initiatives in the country.
Roberto Vega, Dole’s director of sustainability, delivered a presentation to more than 300 attendees on the company’s four pillars of sustainability (carbon footprint, water use, soil conservation and packaging) and specific initiatives in Costa Rica.
The US-based group was also one of the main sponsors of the forum, which was organised by Terra Partners, the first company in the region to specialise in green marketing.
Following the conference, a special roundtable was held with US Ambassador to Costa Rica Anne Slaughter Andrew and representatives of US organisations participating in the forum.
The roundtable was designed to discuss the objectives of Costa Rica’s newly launched sustainability council, which is aimed at supporting and promoting sustainability initiatives in the country.
“One of the main objectives of the council is to establish a communication bridge between companies, NGOs, organizations dedicated to the protection of the environment as well as governmental organizations and to educate consumers,” explained Javier del Campo, president of the sustainability council.
“By sharing common interests and goals, we will define next steps and implement concrete actions in order to comply with our moral obligation to protect the planet.”
Dole Latin America president Jonathan Bass also delivered a speech to further highlight Dole’s commitment to sustainability during a dinner attended by former US Vice-President and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore, as well as representatives of the Costa Rican government and the US Ambassador to Costa Rica.
Mr Bass’s remarks followed former Vice-President Gore’s presentation on “sustainable economic development and the new global focus”.
“This event was a unique opportunity for Dole to present and share examples of best sustainability practices with local and international stakeholders actively involved in taking up the challenges related to sustainability and global warming,” said Sylvain Cuperlier, Dole’s vice-president of worldwide corporate responsibility and sustainability.
With 2010 net revenues of US$6.9bn, Dole is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and the leading producer of organic bananas.
The group also markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and claims to be a produce industry leader in terms of nutrition education and research.