The Dole Sunshine Company has announced a new partnership with the company behind Piñatex, a vegan and natural alternative to leather made from pineapple leaf fibres.
The London-based Ananas Anam will use fibres extracted from Dole's harvested pineapple plant leaves in the Philippines to create the material, which has been used by brands such Nike, Hugo Boss and H&M.
The move represents another step towards the goal of zero fruit loss by 2025, one of the objectives of the six-pronged Dole Promise, launched in June 2020.
Pier-Luigi Sigismondi, global president of Dole Sunshine Company, said the company was committed to making an immediate and lasting impact when it comes to food waste, eliminating processed sugar and plastics, and improving nutrition access globally.
"At Dole, we believe purpose – and therefore our Promise – must permeate everything we do to address these global challenges head on. Addressing food waste is absolutely important to us, as it is connected to our business and our lives in so many ways," said Sigismondi.
"I believe to create tangible solutions and real systemic change to address this issue, we need to converge our purpose with creativity, innovation, and technology. Our partnership with Ananas Anam coupled with global lifestyle brands' use of this innovation truly bring this convergence to life in a new way."
Once harvested, the pineapple plant leaves are dried and processed to create a non-woven mesh to form the base of the Piñatex material. Dole Sunshine Company said this was another opportunity to build a scalable commercial industry for developing farming communities and improve livelihoods for small scale cooperatives/growers.
Melanie Broye-Engelkes, chief executive of Ananas Anam, said the partnership would give the company access to a larger supply of pineapple leaves.
"Through our partnership with Dole, our entity in the Philippines will access a much larger volume of pineapple leaf fibres, to meet the ever-increasing demand for Piñatex not only in fashion, but also in the upholstery and automotive sectors,” said Broye-Engelkes.
“Working closely with Dole's teams on the ground will help us to create a wider positive social impact among farming communities and to continuously reduce our environmental footprint by valorising waste at scale.”
Through the collection and extraction of fibre from pineapple leaves from its farms in Philippines, one of the largest pineapple plantations in the world, Dole is not only taking another step toward its Promise of zero fruit loss by 2025 but is also contributing to a world where sustainable material alternatives are becoming increasingly important as global lifestyle brands look for these alternatives for their products.