Are Chiquita bananas sustainable?

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Chiquita’s efforts to ‘promote social responsibility and sustainability’ have been praised in a recent Economist article that argues that the fruit giant is receiving little credit for its progress.

The claim that Chiquita now produces „sustainable bananas“ is however overstated, as we are sure the company itself would admit. We do acknowledge that Chiquita, Dole and French Caribbean producers are among the big players who are beginning to make serious and concerted efforts to make their production systems more sustainable through the World Banana Forum. In practice though, it is the small producers in Ecuador, the Philippines or the Caribbean who have taken the lead on sustainable production. One of the important opportunities offered by the World Banana Forum - a multistakeholder initiative bringing together the full range of industry actors - is the chance for the big producers to learn from small-scale farmers. Yet a fundamental part of the debate necessarily involves questioning the feasibility of current large-scale monocultures ever being made sustainable.

Banana Link when interviewed for the article agreed that companies like Chiquita who make significant efforts to improve their social and environmental performance should be rewarded by the market. However, the trend by big retailers to cut costs and source directly risk undermining such efforts by leading global brands.

Read the full article here.