Dole Food Company, Inc. believes that in order to be sustainable, we must treat our people, resources, environment and community as our most precious assets.
As a company dedicated to making the world a better place to live both today and in the future, Dole’s mission is to:
- Provide the world with healthy and nutritious foods.
- Offer employees competitive wages, ample benefits and a safe work environment. Honour our employees’ rights.
- Enhance and empower our communities to advance and prosper.
- Protect our natural resources and actively seek ways to reduce our environmental impact.
Dole’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) strategy manifests itself through investing in people and communities, protecting workers, and protecting the environment.
Dole bananas, pineapples and pawpaw are imported into New Zealand from Mindanao Island in the Philippines. We are extremely proud of the relationships we've built over the years with the people and communities in the areas we operate and believe this to be an excellent example of our CRS in action.
We invest in…
People and communities
At Dole, we believe that the long-term interest of the business is best served when growth and profitability are accomplished alongside the development of our people and communities.
With assistance from our partner Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), we continue to invest in education, health, and livelihood programmes for our employees and their communities in the Philippines. We also have contributed to providing a better environment for them by constructing a hospital, school, houses, and community buildings such as churches and sports centers.
Through our Adopt-A-School Programme, we support approximately 60 public elementary schools in Mindanao Island through donations of textbooks, supplemental material, desks, chairs, media and laboratory equipment; teacher training; mobilisation of parent participation; and improvement of school facilities such as libraries.
Dole has initiated health programmes addressing high-risk illnesses in the Philippines, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.
In 2004, we implemented the Tuberculosis Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (TB-DOTS). The programme is considered the most effective method of treating TB and is recognised by the World Health Organisation.
Another programme we launched was the Brigada Pneumonia Programme in North Cotabato in 2009. Its goal is to address the high cases of pneumonia in the province, especially in children below the age of five, and prevent future occurrences. In partnership with the local government, community health workers have been trained, medicines have been made available for distribution to diagnosed patients, and education and awareness campaigns were launched. About 400 mothers have also been trained.
Among other health programmes we have, we work with local governments rehabilitating malnourished children and initiating feeding programmes that have benefited more than 6,500 malnourished children in South Cotabato and General Santos City. We also assist people with disabilities with donations of wheelchairs.
At the heart of good health is safe drinking water, and Dole has built more than 100 water tanks to provide safe portable water for our workers and their communities. Each of these ferro-cement tanks supplies fresh water to about sixty families. Some tanks have been donated to public elementary schools where 5,000 public school children benefit.
We support local initiatives in non-traditional community-based economic and enterprise activities that create opportunities for income augmentation.
Among the groups we support are a women's cooperative composed of non-working spouses from communities near our operations in Mindanao who engage in handicraft projects mainly by recycling plastic straps that can no longer be used (and are donated) by the company and converting them into weaved functional items such as bags, mats, baskets, and trays. These are sold eventually within the community or in nearby cities.
We also support micro and small enterprises such as livestock dispersal to rural households in 55 different communities in Mindanao where over 1,300 rural households have already benefited and 700 farmers have already been trained.
In addition, we provide technical services to local farmer cooperatives in the Philippines to increase land productivity, access to credit for infrastructure improvements, and a stable market for farmer produce through our pineapple, papaya, and banana growership programme.
We provide a safe, healthy, fair, and productive environment for all of our workers
At Dole, ethical and fair treatment of our employees is one of our highest priorities. Working conditions in our operations are always designed to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all our employees.
Dole operates in many rural communities and provides a stable source of employment. In the Philippines, we provide over 15,000 jobs to Filipinos and our workers receive wages in line with or exceeding legal requirements in addition to other benefits, such as insurance, savings plans, retirement, and medical benefits. Dole also enters into long-term contracts with farmers, providing a guaranteed market for their produce at fair, stable, and competitive prices.
We also feel privileged to provide a better environment for our workers, their families, and their communities by extending contributions such as building a hospital, school, churches, and sports centers.
We preserve the environment
At Dole, we believe in caring for the world we live in. It is therefore our commitment to ensure the protection and conservation of the environment.
In our farming operations, we observe environmentally sound procedures in growing and caring for our produce. We use sustainable agricultural practices and are active in programmes such as wastewater treatment, plastic and box recycling. We also support programmes such as marine conservation, reforestation, shifting from using wooden crates to plastic crates as part of our conservation efforts, composting, and Good Agricultural Practices.
One of our environmental programs is the Chairs for Trees project.
Through Chairs for Trees, old wooden pallets are converted into chairs by a local cooperative. These chairs are given to public elementary schools and sometimes churches, where beneficiaries in turn plant tree seedlings provided by Dole that are sourced from a local women's cooperative. Close to 2 million trees have already been planted by this initiative.
Among our other ongoing environmental projects, we also train and educate farmers and our communities on waste minimisation, recycling, water conservation, and the protection of flora and fauna.