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Chiquita launches global emissions reduction plan

Exclusive: Raul Cutait, Sales Manager and Market Coordinator for Southern Europe and the Middle East, speaks

Chiquita announces the launch of a major program to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% in its operations by the end of 2030 called "30BY30". An objective subjected to the evaluation of SBTi (Science Based Target Initiative) - a program born from the collaboration between Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resource Institute (WRI) and World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) - who will be responsible for measuring and reporting Chiquita's progress. Chiquita is the first global fruit producer to commit to independently monitoring and verifying its decarbonisation goals and progress through the involvement of SBTi. We talk about it with Raul Cutait, Chiquita's Director of Sales and Market Coordination for South Europe and Middle East, who granted this exclusive interview to EFA News.

“At Chiquita, we are farmers at heart and banana cultivation is at the heart of the entire value chain”, explains Cutait. "We have been operating in Central America for more than 120 years, witnessing firsthand the changing climate. Global warming brings: irregular rains, hurricanes and floods that negatively impact the livelihoods of our employees, their families and communities. they live in, as well as the constant availability of products to customers and consumers. We have always fought climate change in our operations, but today the Chiquita '30BY30' commitment marks an exciting milestone in our long-term commitment to sustainability. and places us at the forefront of the fight against climate change. We have a detailed roadmap to reduce carbon emissions by 30% until 2030; a path that will require investments and costs and also a smarter approach to work".

EFA News: What are the stages of this journey?

Clear objectives have been set regarding: 1. the reduction of energy consumption by switching to more sustainable electricity, obtained through the installation of solar panels or wind turbines; 2. the substitution of the use of diesel in favor of biofuels or electric vehicles; and 3. reduction of nitrogen emissions from fertilizers".

EFA News: How did you identify these goals?

At the beginning of 2020 Chiquita commissioned a study on the Carbon Footprint with the aim of identifying the areas in focus for the reduction of CO2 emissions, in line with the Paris Treaty. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) defined Chiquita's total company emissions at 1,463,727 tCO2e, which means that each kilo of Chiquita banana has a carbon footprint of 0.66 kgCO2e, much less than other fruits such as avocados or tomatoes. But above all, compared to similar analyzes. carried out in the past, Chiquita has already reduced its CO2 emissions thanks to good agricultural practices, improved efficiency in production and transport, optimization of the way it works. This initiative to reduce CO2 is only part of the global approach put in place to combat climate change and falls within the 3 areas envisaged by the strategic approach to sustainability "Behind the Blue Sticker" - "Behind the Blue Sticker". our “Farmer's Code” program and with the systematic modernization and redesign of farms, we aim to make them as efficient as possible in terms of emissions. With our “Be a good neighbor” program we invest in the social infrastructure of communities, with an important commitment to reforestation and the protection of bio-diversity through community projects. Two long-standing examples of Chiquita's commitment to our planet are the Nogal Nature Reserve in Costa Rica and the San San Pond Sak Wetlands Project in Panama. As part of the "For the common good" program, the "30BY30" commitment is intended to be an inspiration for other companies in the sector to set themselves science-based decarbonisation objectives validated by external bodies.

In the year of the global pandemic, how have you dealt with global markets? Have you had any impact on volumes and revenues? Have you also benefited from e-commerce?

With the great pandemic of 2020, consumer concern for health and well-being has become a priority. Benefiting from its versatility as a practical snack or as a topping for cereals, we've seen an increase in the use of bananas for above-normal fitness occasions and creative meal solutions. During this time of high demand, we have worked with our retail partners to ensure a continuous supply. Chiquita's position on developing clients' businesses in our strategic markets is bound to ensure that our bananas are always the best in the market. In addition to our intense sustainability efforts, our ongoing goal is to ensure that, as a brand, we deliver leadership and added value, delivering excellent service to our customers, as well as superior taste and quality to our end consumers. We firmly believe that applying these core elements will result in a strong customer relationship and greater business opportunities. As far as e-commerce is concerned, it is a very interesting and growing channel also for fresh products: we are currently implementing it in the United States and we are conducting some pilot projects in the European market, looking for possible partners in Italy.

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EFA News - European Food Agency