DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. ANNOUNCES SA8000 CERTIFICATION IN COSTA RICA
Westlake Village, California - March 02, 2005
Dole Food Company, Inc. today announced that all its company-owned banana farms located in Costa Rica have been certified to the Social Accountability International SA 8000 work place and human rights standard. The company-owned El Bosque pineapple plantation also received its SA 8000 certification. The certification covers the cultivation, harvesting and packing of bananas and pineapples for exportation to the United States and Europe. SA 8000, an internationally recognized standard based on the ILO conventions, the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Rights of the Child, focuses on child labor, forced labor, health and safety, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation and the implementation of an efficient management system.
In 2000, Dole's then owned subsidiary, Pascual Hermanos, was the first agricultural company in the world certified to SA 8000. Subsequent to this certification, all Dole managed banana and pineapple plantations in the Philippines have been certified to the SA 8000 standard. In total, Dole has approximately 18,000 employees in its banana and pineapple operations covered by SA 8000 certifications, or approximately 73% of that workforce. The Company is committed to expanding SA 8000 certifications in its Central and South America operations. In extending that commitment, Dole anticipates seeking certification of all the Company's farms in Latin America to SA 8000 in 2005. Dole is a signatory member of Social Accountability International and serves on its advisory board.
This SAI certification is the most recent manifestation of Dole's commitment to ensure that the Company's operations, wherever located, protect both its work force and the environment. In July 1998, Dole's banana operations in Costa Rica became the first agricultural producer in the world to receive certification to the environmental management standard, ISO 14001, an internationally recognized standard, which was developed by the International Organization for Standardization. Subsequent to that date, over 20 Dole divisions or affiliates in Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa have earned the ISO 14001 environmental management certification.
David H. Murdock, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dole Food Company, Inc., stated: "Dole has long enjoyed a reputation for ethical conduct in its business dealings. This certification reflects Dole's ongoing dedication to the standards exemplified by SA 8000. The certification recognizes the commitment of Dole's talented, dedicated employees to the highest standards of human rights."
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2004 revenues of $5.3 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
This release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations, are generally identifiable by the use of terms such as "may," "will," "expects," "believes," "intends" and similar expressions. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein include weather-related phenomena; market responses to industry volume pressures; product and raw materials supplies and pricing; electrical power supply and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises and security risks in developing countries; international conflict; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.