Operations in Costa Rica are the focus of the 2022 Sustainability Report of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., one of the leading producers, marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and cut fruits and vegetables in the world.
Costa Rica is once again a benchmark in sustainability after Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., a global agriculture giant with operations in more than 21 countries, cited in its 2022 Sustainability Report "as an unprecedented success" the launch of its first certified carbon-neutral pineapple, which is grown exclusively in our country.
This is the Del Monte Zero™, which offsets carbon emissions from field to table. SCS Global Services, a global leader in third-party sustainability and environmental verification, following a thorough evaluation of Fresh Del Monte's pineapple production in Costa Rica from shipment to sale in the North American and European markets, determined that the greenhouse gas emissions from these pineapples have been negated by the absorption of company-owned forests, making the carbon footprint of the Del Monte Zero™ neutralized.
"Another distinctive thing is that this is a nature-based solution, known as embedding, not by purchasing carbon credits, which is common practice. A trained group of Fresh Del Monte team members tracks and measures the company's forests twice a year to ensure that the number of boxes of pineapple certified carbon neutral is equivalent to carbon dioxide sequestered," explained Michael Calderon, spokesperson for Fresh Del Monte.
The results in its first year are remarkable. SCS Global Services determined that the Del Monte Zero™ project has captured 101,114 tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). More exemplary results. Fresh Del Monte has been at the forefront of sustainable practices, focusing on reducing its emissions and food waste, and adopting regenerative agriculture and smart farming practices, among many other actions, with Costa Rica as one of its pioneers.
In 2015, the company's banana operation in Costa Rica was certified carbon neutral; there are five local farms certified as sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance.
In 2017, solar panels were installed on four farms of the same banana operation in Costa Rica. In total, 76,387 kWh have been generated and monthly kWh use has been reduced by 46% since its placement to date, the report details.
Also key for 2022 were the projects between Fresh Del Monte's teams in Costa Rica and Guatemala with the German Development Cooperation Agency, GIZ, as well as nearby local community groups.
Among these initiatives is the plan to restore 300 hectares by 2024, and proposals have even been developed to restore another 415 hectares at the end of the project. During 2022, 212 hectares of land from pineapple and banana operations in Costa Rica and Guatemala were restored.
The project also focuses on wildlife preservation; more than 400 species have been identified at project sites in Costa Rica, 304 of which represent 33% of all bird species in the country.
Another successful pilot with GIZ during the previous year focused on improving community water management at its pineapple operation on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. It corresponds to a "water school" in the region, which taught community members how to collaborate with the government on water conservation.
"As a global agribusiness, sustainability is ingrained in our identity and we recognize the urgency of the action needed to further strengthen our operations in the face of climate change," said Hans Sauter, Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President, R&D and Agricultural Services at Fresh Del Monte. "Our unwavering commitment drives us to continuously reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize water use, combat food waste, and reduce plastic consumption, among other critical efforts that have a direct impact on our planet. We strongly believe that we can drive transformative change and encourage the adoption of innovative technologies for a more sustainable future. This ongoing journey requires investments and partnerships, recognizing that the most substantial impact comes when we collaborate."