In December 2009, a groundbreaking initiative was launched at the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome: the World Banana Forum (WBF). This forum offers a permanent assembly space for participants representing the global banana supply-chain so to promote open dialogue around sustainable banana production and trade. Its mission is to improve the banana industry through collaboration between producers and their organizations, trade unions, cooperatives, exporter groups, trading companies, retailers, public agencies, governments, research institutions and civil society organizations.
Additionally, the WBF aims to achieve an industry-wide consensus of best practices regarding workplace matters, gender equality, environmental impact, sustainable production and economic issues.
To emphasize its loyalty to a sustainable banana industry, Dole is both an active member of the WBF’s Steering Committee and participates in the Forum’s three Working Groups.
The Working Group 01 manages Sustainable Production Systems and Environmental Impact (environmental sustainability). This group strives to enhance public awareness and understanding of the main issues related to sustainable banana production. Its efforts also focus on developing a road map for improved sustainability in banana production.
The Working Group 02 sees to the Distribution of Value (economic sustainability). More specifically, it works to attain fair distribution of value along the whole banana chain.
The Working Group 03 takes care of Labor Rights and other Workplace Issues (social sustainability). The group’s participants jointly agreed on the need to prioritize freedom of association and collective bargaining amongst its core areas of work. As gender equality and discrimination was considered a cross-cutting issue, the WG03 has decided to give it special attention and adequate research.