Improving lives and loving our planet
At the very heart of our mission are our strong belief that we are in this world to make it better by improving lives and loving our planet. Our values serve as an ethical compass that provides us with guidance and direction – both for the conduct of our company, as well as for the behavior of each employee
The banana is the world’s fourth most important food crop after rice, wheat and maize. more than 10 billion of our bananas are eaten every year.
Including our farm employees and those of our suppliers, approximately 40,000 men and women in Latin America depend on our banana business, not to mention their families and local communities. They are the basis of our success and the people behind the brand.
This is why our commitment to them is to provide a safe workplace that respects their rights in each of the following areas:
Wages and Benefits
Wages at Chiquita's Latin American farms are not only above the legal minimum wage – on average 50% above the legal minimum wage – they are also 16% above the SA8000 living wage calculation. We believe Chiquita employees in the Tropics enjoy some of the best wages, benefits and working conditions in the banana industry.
We also believe in providing our employees with an opportunity to become homeowners. In the 1990s, Chiquita began an employee home ownership program that has enabled our employees in Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica to become independent homeowners.
More than 2,000 Chiquita employees have become owners of new homes, and more than 3,000 employees now own refurbished company housing. In Honduras, the home ownership program was recognized by the Organization of American States (OAS) with a 2004 Corporate Citizen of the Americas Award
We believe it is our duty to ensure our employees' children have access to education. Historically, Chiquita has always encouraged the education of our employees' children by building schools within the communities where our employees live.
In almost all cases, those schools have now been handed over to local governments, but our commitment to education remains. Support for the education of our employees’ children is included in all our Trade Union agreements.
Training and Education
The more than 20,000 men and women who work at Chiquita come from many countries and cultures and speak numerous languages. We strive to make sure everyone at Chiquita understands their rights and responsibilities, our health and safety procedures and that they are encouraged to express their opinions.
Our employees receive training several times a year to make sure that every one, whether we work on the farm or in management, understands our professional responsibilities.
Certifications by the Rainforest Alliance and SA8000 require us to provide our employees with environmental and health and safety education. However, the training topics vary to reflect different jobs throughout our company.
Training is provided through live, webcast, written and online courses. Extensive online training is provided to employees who have email access (whether farm managers, foremen or office-based employees). Employees, who do not have computer access, receive training in person.
Workers Health & Wellbeing
Working on a farm requires having a strong commitment to employee safety to ensure safe usage of agrichemicals, large machinery, sharp tools and the lifting and moving of heavy produce, often over uneven ground.
For our company to function well, we need motivated and healthy employees which is why we do the best we can to make sure their workplaces are as safe as possible.
We don’t like using agrichemicals but sometimes they are the only means to successfully control pests, weeds and diseases that thrive in the hot and humid climate and fertile soils of tropical Latin America. Indeed, positive careful use of the lowest toxicity agrichemicals effectively enables us to produce bananas and provide many jobs.
Equal Rights Protection
Regardless of gender, age, disability or orientation we believe in treating ALL our employees equally and with respect. Women make an important contribution to Chiquita’s banana operations. Approximately 2,800 women, or about 16 percent of total employees, work in our Latin America production operations.
In 2011, Chiquita and trade unions formed the IUF/COLSIBA/Chiquita Women’s Committee, which seeks to improve opportunities available to women by supporting their personal and professional development.
We have worked hard to create a safe working environment for female employees so that they can carry out their work free from all forms of harassment, bullying or discrimination. This includes training for all our employees, without exception, on discrimination and respect for gender as well as providing a clear reporting procedure for handling employee complaints.
Our business success relies on our employees, which is why we make our employees’ well-being part of our Core Values. We encourage all our employees to raise questions and concerns to their supervisors, our Human Resources personnel or through Chiquita’s confidential and independently run Helpline.
Anyone who, in good faith, raises a concern, reports misconduct or participates in an investigation, is protected from retaliation.