At a corporate responsibility forum in Guatemala on Sept. 8, Dole Food president and chief executive officer David DeLorenzo reaffirmed the company’s commitment to environmental and social accountability.

“Central America is a region in which we’ve been particularly active,” he said, “whether it is by building up the regional economy through infrastructure investment, creating local jobs, developing community programs or partnering with local growers to implement sustainable agricultural programs.”

Dole pledges support for social responsibility

DeLorenzo spoke to about 560 local stakeholders attending the Center for Implementing Corporate Social Responsibility – or CentraRSE – forum in Guatemala City. Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom opened the forum.

Dole’s North American Tropical Fresh Fruit Division sources all of its bananas and most of its pineapples in Central America, said Bil Goldfield, communications manager for the division. Dole is one of more than 100 CentraRSE members. Together they generate about 30% of Guatemala’s gross domestic product.

“For us there’s no seam between what we do and sustainability and corporate responsibility,” Goldfield said. “It’s part of our company’s DNA.”

The forum session with DeLorenzo focused on “companies as actors for change,” as the CEO spoke of Dole’s “three pillars” of sustainability: carbon footprint, water use and soil conservation.

Dole also tries to engage regional partners to benefit its Central American work force through the company’s participation in the World Banana Forum. The WBF promotes open dialogue on challenges facing the banana industry. Participants include standard-setting organizations, trade unions, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations.