Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOLE) today announced that Bananito, a Dole farm located in Costa Rica has received a ‘Plan A’ farming award from British retailer Marks & Spencer. The Marks & Spencer’s Plan A farming award recognizes and promotes farmers and growers who are taking steps to improve the sustainability of their business. “Many customers who visited Bananito have been impressed by the farm’s housing, medical, education, environmental and social programs,” said Danilo Román, General Manager of Standard Fruit de Costa Rica. “This formal recognition of our programs goes right to the heart of what Bananito’s employees work toward every day for the community at large. We are very proud of their effort and will donate the award to our workers’ associations for their reinvesting in family activities.” Bananito is an 850-hectare Company-owned farm producing bananas since 1989. It supplies Marks & Spencer as well as other customers. It is located in Limón, Costa Rica and is certified to GlobalGAP, ISO 14001 and SA 8000. More information regarding Bananito is available at www.dolecsr.com. The award, coupled with a £1,000 prize from Marks & Spencer, was recently accepted by Roberto Vega, Dole’s Director of Sustainability, and Justin Hudson, representative of Dole Fresh U.K. which is the primary supplier to M&S, during the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in Llanewedd, Wales, U.K. “Like our other Dole farms in Costa Rica, Bananito is actively engaged in reducing the Carbon Footprint of our operations as part of a joint commitment with the Government of Costa Rica in 2007,” said Vega. The application process was designed to be flexible across a range of farming systems and to allow the broadest range of entries covering animal welfare, environmental and ethical issues. This year, the application process was open for the first time to non-UK farmers.
Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.