Our Story

Bananas love hot, humid climates and ours are grown primarily in the lowland areas of Latin America. Banana farms are labor intensive and our produce relies being in a temperature controlled environment from the farms at which bananas are harvested all the way to a local grocery store, a journey that can cover thousands of miles. We asked how we could make each step in that journey an environmentally responsible one.

In 1992, the Rainforest Alliance was able to show companies, like Chiquita, how to better agricultural work practices for business, the environment, employees and the local communities.

Our answer came in the 1990s when we decided to test a pioneering program created by the Rainforest Alliance, an organisation that promotes good farming practices to protect the environment and support farming communities. Unlike anyone else at the time,

It wasn't going to be easy. Rainforest Alliance certification was only granted to those farms that met strict environmental and social standards. To make sure we were meeting those standards, Rainforest Alliance had auditors, independent experts acting on behalf of member organisations of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), assess our farms every year while having full access to all workplaces, documents and employees.

  • 1900's

    The Rainforest Alliance began urging banana producers to grow bananas in a way that was kinder to the environment, employees and local communities.

  • 1992-96

    David McLaughlin, Chiquita’s then general manager of Costa Rican operations, tests the pioneering scheme conceived by the Rainforest Alliance.

  • 1992

    Since 1992 we’ve planted nearly one million native trees and bushes to stop soil erosion and restore native habitats.

  • 1994

    First two company-owned farms become Rainforest Alliance Certified in Costa Rica.

  • 1998

    Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee formed to ensure that our new way of doing business was adopted throughout Chiquita.

  • 1998

    The use of Paraquat is stopped. As part of Rainforest Alliance certification, Chiquita abides by the prohibition of the use of 99 active ingredients, including all Pesticide Action Network Dirty Dozen substances (such as Paraquat), banned or severely restricted substances by the U.S. EPA and European Union and globally banned substances under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP).

  • 1999

    Core Values of Integrity, Respect, Opportunity and Responsibility were adopted after consultation with thousands of employees. Today you can find these Core Values on the walls of our workplaces and on business cards worldwide, in many languages. Our Core Values serve as an ethical compass providing guidance and direction – both for the conduct of our company and the behavior of each employee.

  • 2000

    SA8000 - one of the world's pre-eminent social standards that ensures our employees are treated fairly, properly and have good working conditions -- adopted.

  • 2000

    Code of Conduct strengthened and updated. This was an important milestone and a public commitment to high standards. At the heart of our Code of Conduct is the SA8000 standard. Our Code of Conduct provides guidance on how to behave ethically and act correctly.

  • 2000-12

    All our owned farms are Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM.

  • 2001

    First and so far only banana company to sign an International Framework Agreement (IFA) with international trade union federations. The IFA commits us to applying internationally established labor rights’ standards across our workplaces and farms. This includes the right to join trade unions, and the prohibition of child labor, forced labor and discrimination.

  • 2001

    First CSR Report published.

  • 2004

    Chiquita begins the Nogal Project, a biodiversity partnership with Swiss retailer MIGROS and, soon after, GTZ Development in Costa Rica.

  • 2004

    Chiquita Helpline launched to enable our employees to freely, and under the fullest protection possible, report concerns or ask questions in confidence and anonymously (where permitted by local law). Operated by an independent, third party and available 24/7 by phone or by email in any language, the Helpline is available to every Chiquita employee.

  • 2004

    Chiquita receives a Citizens of Americas Award from the Organization of American States (OAS) for the company’s employee home ownership program. In 2012, more than 5,000 Chiquita banana production employees have become homeowners as the result of this program.

  • 2004

    All of Chiquita’s owned farms have maintained SA8000 certification. We are the only major banana company to achieve this status.

  • 2005

    We join WWF USA’s Mesoamerican Reef Project to measure and reduce the impact farming practices have on endangered Caribbean coral reefs as some of our farms are in the watershed of the Caribbean Ocean.

  • 2006

    Since 2006 we have achieved a 66% reduction of nematicide use over the entire area of Chiquita’s owned farms.

  • 2008

    Full time Occupational Health & Safety specialists are in every region and at every port where we operate to ensure accidents are prevented wherever possible.

  • 2009

    Biodiversity Partnership begins with REWE, GIZ, CORBANA in the San San region bordering our farms in Panama and Costa Rica.

  • 2009

    World Banana Forum (WBF) Founding Member - WBF promotes the worldwide adoption of sustainable practices throughout the global supply chain for banana production and trade. Members include supermarkets, trade unions, small farmers' organizations and fruit companies that come together with the aim of bringing about environmental and social improvements in the industry.

  • 2010

    Carbon Footprint study with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which measured the carbon footprint of our products from farm to retail to help us identify the best ways to reduce our carbon dioxide footprint.

  • 2009-12

    Ocean transportation Carbon emissions resulting from shipments to Europe reduced by one third.

  • 2010

    Our RPBC (Returnable Plastic Bulk Container) program – where retailers return our cartons and plastic packaging to us - is the first case of returnable plastic in the industry; Climatop presented the company with a CO2 Champion Award in 2010.

  • 2010

    Mundimar Biodigester installed. A Biodigester is a natural digestion process that operates without fuel or electricity to breakdown excess fruit and other materials into energy producing biogas gas as well as fertilizer rich in plant nutrients for the land. The system also purifies wastewater and generates electricity.

  • 2011

    Women’s Committee of IUF/COLSIBA/Chiquita managers is established to focus on women’s employment issues, including workplace safety, free of harassment and improve opportunities for personal and professional development.

  • 2011

    Our new Ripening Center – one of the first (if not the first) carbon neutral banana ripening facility in the world -- opens in the Netherlands.

  • 2011

    Chiquita received the REWE Group’s PRO PLANET label, the first non-REWE Group brand to be recognized.

  • 2009-13

    We bought or leased 7,000 new energy-saving containers, representing 49% of the total fleet of 14,162, which reduced our CO2 emissions by 17,000 tons per year.

  • 2011

    Employee Volunteer Time Off benefit program begins, which provides 8 hours of paid community service time to Chiquita employees to dedicate to community and sustainability projects.

  • 2012

    Chiquita offers free breast cancer screenings to more than 470 women in Cost Rica.

  • 2012

    Chiquita celebrates 20 years working with the Rainforest Alliance.

  • 2012

    Water Footprint Study with WWF International to develop the water footprint of our banana and U.S. packaged salad products.

  • 2013

    Target Zero Initiative is launched with the objective of building a culture of safety and zero safety incidents.

  • 2020

    Target is 30% carbon emissions reduction and 15% reduction in water use from a 2007 baseline.

Our Sustainability Videos

It's only natural that we operate responsibly in the communities where we live and work.

Discover all the positive things Chiquita has done as part of earning our Rainforest Alliance certification:

Chiquita's Rainforest Alliance Certification video

We welcome you to browse more videos about our sustainability efforts.

Chiquita Pineapple Upside Down Biscuits Chiquita Banana Split Smoothie Chiquita Banana and Dark Chocolate Muffins Chiquita Plantain Tostone Grilled Chiquita Banana and Sausage Kebabs Chiquita Banana Bread Chiquita Pineapple Freezes Chiquita Banana Chocolate Spider Web Cake