One of the most lucrative crops in Costa Rica has come under heavy criticism from environmental activists and farmers who are concerned about the sustainability of their soil and ecosystems. Pineapples are one of the most enticing cash crops in Costa Rica thanks to heavy demand from developed markets such as Europe. Unfortunately, the mass and indiscriminate farming of pineapples often leads to soil depletion, which could eventually affect ecosystems. Thankfully, some mass farming enterprises are looking into sustainable ways to grow pineapples and other crops in Costa Rica:
EMERYVILLE, CA–(Marketwired – Feb 4, 2015) – Worldwide certification body SCS Global Services (SCS) announced that Del Monte Fresh Produce (Del Monte) has received Sustainably Grown certification for all of its banana plantations in Costa Rica and Guatemala as well as its pineapple farms in Costa Rica. Receiving Sustainably Grown certification for these operations marks the culmination of a multi-year effort by Del Monte to improve and verify its sustainable farming practices in Central America through third-party assessment. Certified Del Monte bananas and pineapples will now feature the SCS Kingfisher Sustainably Grown certification mark in stores.
First introduced in 2003, the SCS Sustainably Grown certification program is one of the world’s most strict standards for sustainable agriculture. The standard includes yearly auditing for compliance and emphasizes continuous improvement, requiring certified farms to build on their sustainable practices over time. “Sustainably Grown recognizes agricultural operations that are on the cutting edge of sustainable farming,” said Dr. Stanley Rhodes, Founder and CEO of SCS Global Services. “Del Monte has proven that they are serious about growing bananas and pineapples in ways that minimize environmental impact while ensuring the health and safety of its workers and their communities.”
Del Monte farms receiving Sustainably Grown certification are audited to a rigorous set of environmental, social and quality criteria including:
- Sustainable Crop Production
- Ecosystem Management and Protection
- Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency
- Integrated Waste Management
- Fair Labor Practices
- Community Benefits
- Product Quality
- Product Safety and Purity
“Del Monte Fresh is committed to embracing sustainable agriculture and making environmental conservation and fair labor practices a major part of our banana and pineapple supply chain,” said Hans Sauter, Vice President Corporate Research & Development and Agricultural Services for Del Monte. “Achieving Sustainably Grown certification assures our customers that they are receiving produce that is grown in a responsible way.”
Certified Del Monte bananas and pineapples featuring the Sustainably Grown Kingfisher certification mark will begin appearing on store shelves in Europe and the United States in 2015.
About Del Monte Fresh Produce:
Del Monte Fresh Produce is one of the world’s leading vertically integrated producers, marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and distributor of prepared fruit and vegetables, juices, beverages and snacks in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. We market our products worldwide under the DEL MONTE® brand, a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness and reliability since 1892.
About SCS Global Services:
SCS Global Services has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for three decades. Programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, and more. Now in its 30th year, SCS is a Certified B Corporation™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practice.