The American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce recognized Charlotte, North Carolina-based Dole through its daughter company, Standard Fruit Company de Costa Rica S.A., with the Social Responsibility in Action Award in the employees category for the project “De la Mano con Dole,” which loosely translates to “Hand-in-Hand with Dole.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the award, which was presented to Dole on Dec. 8.
The Hand-in-Hand with Dole project is an initiative that works toward positively impacting the social development of Standard Fruit Company of Costa Rica, a.k.a. Dole Costa Rica, employees and their families, using the Business Multidimensional Poverty Index methodology developed by the University of Oxford.
The bMPI methodology seeks to measure poverty – not only from the traditional way of per capita income – but also by incorporating dimensions such as access to health, education, housing, work, social protection and 16 other key indicators.
This allows the organization to identify gaps in social programs and work toward solving the multidimensional poverty issues confronted by their employees and their relatives.
Dole is the first agribusiness company in the world to apply the bMPI methodology to address the challenges of social development.
During the diagnostic stage of implementation, Dole Costa Rica achieved a participation rate of 87 percent in response to socioeconomic surveys among its more than 5,300 employees, ranking near the highest level of participation among the companies that have applied the method in the country.
Analysis of the discovered “deficiencies” refocused short-term priorities of the company toward the prevention of disease and the health of employees at the onset of COVID, to longer term strategies of social protection and health. At the end of September 2021, 500 gaps had been closed.
“We are very proud of being the first banana and pineapple producer to implement this system and seeing such positive results for our employees and families here in Costa Rica,” said Renato Acuña, president of Dole Fresh Fruit Latin America.
“The strategies developed in this program, including social counseling and community care projects, seek to meet needs and provide the necessary capacities for better human development,” he said.
For this project, Dole management has prioritized addressing the following needs: people without health insurance; people with disabilities not receiving state assistance; older adults without a pension, people out of the workforce due to family obligations; and households without drinking water.
In applying findings, Dole has established strategic alliances with Horizonte Positivo, a local NGO that leads the implementation of bMPI in Costa Rica, and with Sophia Oxford, an international non-profit organization that seeks to impact the social investment of companies and the lives of their employees.
These third-party interpretations and analyses of results, and the proposal of solutions that can positively affect the reduction of multidimensional poverty, are essential to best practices in solution implementation.
In 2020, Dole introduced its three-pillared sustainability framework, The Dole Way, and its ongoing commitment for food, nature and people.
Dole Costa Rica was a pioneer more than 20 years ago in the development of global environmental management systems in agriculture to frame its efforts for nature.
Through this project, the company intends to innovate in the establishment of a social development platform focused on its most important resource: people.
For more information, visit dole.com or doleplc.com.