DOLE REINFORCES COMMITMENT TO PEOPLE, PLANET AND PROSPERITY WITH NEW OPERATIONS IN SIERRA LEONE
Packaged fruit brand Dole Sunshine Company (DSC) says it has reinforced its commitment in Sierra Leone as it nears completion of Phase 1 of its $70 million project to improve livelihoods in the region.
With the promise to bring “Sunshine for All™ to customers, employees and consumers around the world”, the project is focused on driving regional development, employment and healthcare, and providing a new level of certainty to the region at both their factory and the commercial plantation, the company said in a statement.
In 2017, Dole opened commercial plantations and a factory in Sierra Leone – an area blighted by poverty, a harsh food crisis, and limited access to proper healthcare, electricity and water. Dole says its operations will add to the livelihoods of over 8,000 people by 2024, and that “ongoing work has resulted in the establishment of a local health centre and neonatal wing, agricultural development, increased health and sanitation in the region, and quality products from the nation for export to EU, the Middle East and North America”.
Siddharth Ramaswamy, chief supply chain officer, food and beverages group – Dole Sunshine Company, commented: “As a purpose-driven business, our Dole Promise permeates everything we do and has been at the centre of our work in Sierra Leone – addressing issues in the region while creating value for our shareholders and stakeholders. With the cooperation and support from the people and the Government of Sierra Leone, we have been able to improve livelihoods and move forward in the region with many of our goals. So far, we are on track to meet and exceed our original plan. These are particularly relevant in the current food insecurity crisis, which is the consequence of the Ukraine war, commodities hyper-inflation and disrupted supply chains.”
Outside of production, DSC says it has been focused on supporting the region in multiple ways including:
- Opened a health centre with a focus on neonatal care, open to all employees, their families and all pregnant women in Sumbuya Lugbu. This is a major step forward for the region given its significant maternal and infant mortality rate (UNICEF).
- Improved access to water with 11 wells completed in June 2022, and another three planned before February 2023. This effort will provide access to 13 of 22 villages within Sumbuya.
- Supported food insecurity with agricultural development.
- Expanded access to electricity through government partnerships.
- Supported the upskilling of residents with a training facility, and spurred banking growth and existence through the Community bank with an increase in banked customers by 150%.
- Drove preservation and sustainability goals with contoured land tillage, recycling, fuel consumption monitoring, and new efficient farming practices.
“As a brand, we are driven in Sierra Leone by the impact we have already been able to make and by what is next,” said Alex Riviera, managing director, Sierra Tropical Ltd. “As we ship product from the region to the world, we know that we are helping the country move forward and addressing many of the issues here today. And our work is an investment not only in Sierra Leone’s future but in restating our focus on bringing sunshine to all.”
In addition, the company is continuing to explore additional developments in Africa with partners in other countries, as well as donor organisations for improvements on infrastructure in Sierra Leone.
About the Dole Promise
In 2020 Dole announced The Dole Promise, with its three pillars around nutrition, sustainability and the creation of shared value.
Better for People: Access to sustainable nutrition for 1 billion people by 2025, moving towards zero processed sugar in all Dole Packaged Foods products by 2025.
Better for Planet: Working towards zero fruit loss from Dole farms to markets by 2025, aiming for zero fossil-based plastic packaging by 2025. Working towards net zero carbon emissions in Dole operations by 2030.
Better for all Stakeholders: Dole will continue to positively impact all farmers, communities and people working for Dole – through its commitment to equal opportunity, living wages, and an ever-increasing level of safety, nutrition, and wellbeing. The company also seeks to advance human rights within the direct operations and supply chains by building a culture of transparency and accountability. The company also aims for a 50% increase in the value of its business by 2025.
To learn more please visit sunshineforall.com.
For more trade talk news, click here