Early February, the international certification organization SCS Global Services (SCS) announced that Del Monte Fresh Produce (Del Monte) was awarded the Sustainably Grown certification for its entire banana production operations in Costa Rica and Guatemala. Its pineapple farms in Costa Rica have also received the recognition. This certification is the culmination of an effort, over several years, by Del Monte to enhance its farming practices in Central America and ensure they are in line with strict standards through third-party assessment. Del Monte’s bananas and pineapples grown in the certified plantations will now bare the “SCS Kingfisher Sustainably Grown certification” mark in stores.
“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.” said Dr. Stanley Rhodes, CEO of SCS Global Services. Del Monte farms receiving Sustainably Grown certification are audited to a rigorous set of environmental, social and quality criteria that covered a multitude of social and environmental indicators.
“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.”
The certified fruits will be making their way into stores across Europe and the United States in the course of 2015.
Last year, part of the US Del Monte group of companies was bought by its Asian counterpart Del Monte Pacific Limited. Although Del Monte Pacific Limited is a separate company and competes with its US counterpart on several markets, they also have a strong commitment to responsible commerce, based on solid social and environmental consciousness. Their pineapple plantation in Bukidnon, Philippines is the world’s largest integrated pineapple plantation and as explained by Rolando Gapud, Chairman of the Board, “the Del Monte Foundation (DMF) is a nonprofit foundation that runs the CSR and community development programs for Del Monte”. They “provide housing, education and medical services to the families” of all 5,000 employees of the large agricultural complex. Rolando Gapud also mentioned that Del Monte has “several growth strategies in the pipeline, among which the expansion of the pineapple business in the US”.
SCS Global Services has been a leading provider of third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing and testing for the past thirty years. They are involved in programs and certifications that span a multitude of industries, highlighting achievements and awarding best practices in green building, manufacturing, food production and agriculture among other sectors.