Frequently Asked Questions
What does Dole aim to achieve?
Dole is committed to consistently providing safe, high-quality fresh fruit, vegetables and food products while protecting the environment in which its products are grown and processed.
How important is quality?
Dole's dedication to quality is a commitment solidly backed by: comprehensive programs for food safety, scientific crop protection programs, stringent quality control measures, state-of-the-art production and transportation technologies, continuous improvement through research and innovation, and dedication to the safety of our employees, communities and the environment.
Are you Rainforest Alliance certified?
Yes, all Dole pineapples from the Philippines and all Ecuador bananas coming to New Zealand are certified. Philippines bananas are currently going through the certification process. Chilean grapes are also going through certification and we should receive them in New Zealand in the next year. By buying a Rainforest Alliance certified product you can sure you are helping the enviroment and the farm workers. Dole does not charge extra for Rainforest Alliance certified products as we believe everyone should have the right to make sustainable choices.
What’s is Rainforest Alliance?
The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organisation that works to conserve biodiversity and promote the rights and well-being of workers, their families and communities. Rainforest Alliance is part of the Sustainable Agriculture Network. The little green frog, now found on Dole fresh products is the Rainforest Alliance certification logo recognized by consumers around the world as a symbol of environmental, social and economic sustainability.
The farms need to meet 10 principles before they can receive their certification
- Social and Environmental Management System
- Ecosystem Conversation
- Wildlife Protection
- Water Conservation
- Fair Treatment and Good Working Conditions for Workers
- Occupation Health and Safety
- Community Relations
- Integrated Crop Management
- Soil Management and Conservation
- Integrated Waste Manager.
Does Dole share information on its corporate responsibility and sustainability practices?
Yes. Dole is committed to providing transparent information on the company’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability practices. In doing so, Dole maintains an open and constructive dialogue with stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, governmental and non-governmental organisations, employees, trade unions, consumer organisations and community representatives.
These discussions address current and future issues facing the agricultural industry and yield effective solutions in overcoming related challenges.
Dole believes these open dialogues are crucial for the development of mutual understanding and confidence between involved parties. In some sectors, such as labour and environmental areas, the company has signed partnership agreements with local stakeholders, such as the Sustainable Business Network in New Zealand, that aim to resolve local issues before they expand into bigger problems. Other agreements set a framework to ensure communities and their representatives can promote their views when developing new community programs.
Which multi-stakeholder initiatives is Dole actively participating in?
Dole is an active member of The World Banana Forum, The Global Social Compliance Program, Water Footprint and the Sustainable Business Network in New Zealand.
Most of the initiatives are comparable to think-tank platforms that address challenges on a global level, while some tackle medium- to long-term sustainability issues. For global issues such as climate change, Dole believes it can provide an efficient action plan only if it is coordinated with the efforts of other important players aiming to achieve shared objectives.
How does Dole support education with regards to healthy eating?
Dole is committed to nutrition research and education. Dole is a founding member of the National 5 A Day for Better Health Program and is a leader in developing technology-based nutrition education programs for children.
Dole is committed to communicating to the public the benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Dole supports these goals with a corporate philosophy of adhering to the highest ethical conduct in all its business dealings, treatment of its employees, and social and environmental policies.
Do you employ children on your farms?
No. Dole prohibits and opposes child labour. Dole operates in accordance with ILO Convention 138 regarding the minimum age and ILO Convention 182 on child labour.
In Latin America, for bananas and pineapples, the company’s policy is even stricter – prohibiting any people younger than 18 years of age from being hired or employed in any form.
Do you pay your workers the minimum wage?
Dole compensates all its employees fairly and in-line with legally stipulated requirements. In all countries in which Dole operates, employees receive at least the legally required compensation and benefits in terms of wage and social benefits.
What additional benefits do you provide to your workers?
Additional benefits can include savings and loans programs, paid time off for illness or injury, maternity leave, health insurance, social assistance, anywhere from one to four months’ extra annual pay, vacation
time, retirement plans and long-term disability insurance.
What is your view on employees joining unions or other similar associations?
Dole supports employees who wish to join labour unions and participate in Collective Bargaining
Freedom of Association & Right to Collective Bargaining in accordance with the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 87 on freedom of association and the protection of the right to organise, and Convention 98 on the right to organise and participate in Collective Bargaining. Dole employees are free to join labour unions and to participate in Collective Bargaining through representatives of their own choosing.
In addition, Dole’s personal policies prohibit discrimination against workers who wish to join trade unions or any other form of association.
Do you force employees to work?
Dole does not engage in or condone forced labour of any kind. This is in accordance with ILO Convention 29 regarding forced labour and ILO Convention 105 on the abolition of forced labour.
How have you improved access to medical care for communities?
Dole has contributed in numerous ways, including the construction of hospitals in highly populated areas. We have also built health centres and dispensaries in areas where farms are concentrated, as well as supplied medical units to communities in remote areas.
What have you done in terms of education?
Where education infrastructure and learning facilities are lacking, Dole funds the construction and/or maintenance and provision of schools, grants, scholarships, training faculties, donates books and computers and offers other education-related materials. Dole also provides children with painting, music, or computer classes.
Has Dole invested in infrastructure within the communities it works with?
Yes. Dole builds local amenities, such as churches, parks, recreational areas, and athletic centres that enhance the communities’ everyday standard of living.
In some countries, like Ecuador, Dole also finances the tarring of some nearby plantation roads to minimise the dust emitted by trucks transporting bananas.
In other countries, like Peru, where access to potable water is not yet optimal, the company’s foundation contributes to the financing of water treatment systems
Many corporate companies claim to be empowering communities. What exactly is Dole doing?
Empowerment is key to any community. Dole is very active in training community members, particularly women, to acquire new skills that can be used to generate additional revenues for their families.
In Ecuador, for example, Dole Foundation has developed a microenterprise program teaching women how to produce some of the protective equipment bought by the Company for worker’s use.
In other countries, such as Colombia, the local foundation also provides women with training on how to produce shoes and artefacts.
In several countries in which we operate, Dole organises classes aimed at maintaining harmonious relationships within the community. Those classes can address subjects such as the prevention of sexual abuse and intra-family violence and the prevention of tobacco, drug and alcohol abuse.
Does Dole invest in community programmes aimed at protecting the environment?
Yes.During World Environment Day, Dole usually organises environmental activities in the countries where we are active. Those activities include tree planting with communities, local schools, as well as workers with their children, the conduct of environmental awareness seminars for the children, the collection of trash alongside rivers and roads and the installation of bird feeders for hummingbirds and others.
In Colombia, Fundeban, the foundation run by TECBACO, a Dole supplier, also teaches some community representatives how to plant and maintain gardens. Those representatives also have the opportunity to sell their produce on the local market.
Furthermore, the foundation also launched a program aimed at preventing flooding in the last 25 km of the Río Frío basin by carrying out topographic surveys, dredging works on both margins of the river and reforesting them with native trees. The reforestation programs are also aimed at protecting the biodiversity around the basin.
In addition, biodiversity assessments are carried out to monitor bird populations.
What are you doing to reduce your Carbon Footprint?
Dole has calculated its carbon footprint and has implemented programs (such as improving some refrigeration systems, using new fertilizers and providing our truck drivers with driving courses) aimed at reducing its Carbon Footprint.
In some countries, Dole is also actively participating in reforestation initiatives, which compensate for part of the greenhouse gases emitted during the production process.
What are you doing to reduce water usage?
Dole uses irrigation only when and where necessary, based on weather conditions and forecasts, crop capacity for water absorption, water availability in the soil and the “allowable” water deficit for issues such as crop resistance. Dole is also active in better controlling water use by equipping numerous packing plants with water recycling systems.
Dole has also implemented natural barriers and plant covers to protect water bodies in canals.
What are you doing to ensure you are looking after the environment?
Dole has implemented Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) across its worldwide business. In support of its environmental policy, Dole has implemented Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) – guidelines for conserving the environment through limited use of Crop Protection Products.
GAP ensures that the scope of Dole’s agricultural practices is in accordance with Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), in order to apply Crop Protection Products on an “as necessary” basis.
How do you ripen your bananas?
To get the green Dole bananas to a ripeness ready for consumption takes skill and care.
On arrival in New Zealand, the bananas are placed in specially constructed ripening rooms where the atmosphere is strictly controlled to ensure the ripening occurs at a specified rate and to a specified level of ripeness. Temperature and the humidity levels of these rooms are constantly monitored to make sure the bananas aren’t: a) ripening too quickly and b) losing too much water. A natural gas called Ethylene, that bananas produce themselves to induce ripening, is introduced to ensure evenness of ripening. It takes 4-5 days for bananas to ripen in these controlled conditions.
Why are the pineapples in New Zealand crownless?
Due to biosecurity reasons. We need to cut the crowns before sending to NZ as they could carry tiny little bugs that can be harmful to NZ environment. The crowns are then replanted and will produce new pineapples.
What does Fairtrade mean?
Fairtrade is a movement seeking improved terms of trade for farmers so they can enhance their standards of living and plan for their futures. Consumers pay a premium price for products carrying the Fairtrade Mark. The additional revenue goes back to farmers. Some of our Ecuador farms are Fairtrade certified but at this stage those fruits do not come to New Zealand.
Are the labels on the bananas biodegradable?
Our current label on Ecuadorian bananas will degrade in open environment in less than 90 days, faster if composted (perhaps 3-4 weeks).
Why is Bobby banana wrapped in plastic?
Bobby bananas are a smaller more fragile banana, the reason we wrap them in plastic is so they are protected. Without the plastic, they would get damaged before arriving to stores. They also need to have a barcode on them to differentiate them from other bananas. But we are working on a better solution for Bobbys that will still keep them protected from damage, can handle moisture and consumer can still see through.
Are Dole products GMO free?
Yes, Dole has a strict non-GMO policy.