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Chiquita Earns 2004 Corporate Citizen of the Americas Award

Submitted by: Chiquita Brands International, Inc.

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Apr 15, 2004 – 12:00 AM EST

 

OAS Honors Company for Nuevo San Juan Home-Ownership Project in Honduras

Apr. 15 /CSRwire/ - Cincinnati – The Trust for the Americas has selected Chiquita Brands International, Inc.(NYSE: CQB) as the winner of the 2004 Corporate Citizen of the Americas Award for Chiquita’s Nuevo San Juan Home-Ownership Project in Honduras. Dr. César Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), presented the award at a ceremony last night in Washington, D.C., as part of Pan American Day celebrations.

The Trust for the Americas is the not-for-profit arm of the OAS, which established this award to recognize exemplary corporate programs aimed at alleviating poverty in the Americas and to encourage other companies to undertake similar efforts.

In its Nuevo San Juan project, Chiquita subsidizes two-thirds to three-quarters of the cost of houses for banana farm workers in La Lima, Honduras. Chiquita is working in cooperation with employees, their union, the local municipality and the government of Honduras. Phase I of the project was completed at year-end 2003 and provided 600 families with new homes. Phase II will add 650 new homes to be completed by year-end 2005. Initiated by Chiquita, the project is now coordinated by FUNDESULA, the Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Communities in the Sula Valley.

"Chiquita’s Nuevo San Juan Home-Ownership Project is being recognized for its achievement in several areas of importance to the Trust, including innovation, community involvement in design and execution, direct impact and sustainability," said Linda Eddleman, executive director, The Trust for the Americas. "By promoting individual ownership, investment and savings, the Nuevo San Juan project is a model of sustainable development in the region."

"Chiquita encourages home ownership for our workers, because we believe it improves employee morale, motivation and personal financial habits," said Fernando Aguirre, Chiquita’s president and CEO. "Our objective is to improve the living conditions and community services available to our workers and their families through safe, affordable worker-owned housing."

"We had three objectives when we designed and built these houses: safety, affordability, and expandability," explained José Obregón, president of FUNDESULA. "First, we looked for a house with a durable structure that would last for at least 10 years without needing any major repairs. Then, we looked at the costs of the houses and chose a design that would meet the needs of the workers at a price that they could afford.

"What began as a project to improve the social and economic structure for employees by a bunch of stubborn idealists has become reality," Obregón continued. "But this is just the beginning, because it is not just about building houses, it is about creating a sustainable community."

The community is equipped with all basic urban infrastructure run by the local municipality or private entities. We Care, Chiquita’s nonprofit employee-operated relief organization, partially funded the construction of the community’s elementary school for more than 100 students. The company continues to provide health and educational services to its workers, when not supplied by the local government.

Established in 1997, The Trust for the Americas fosters partnership among corporations, foundations, governmental bodies and academic institutions operating in the Americas. The Trust’s mission reflects the central goals of the Organization of American States (www.oas.org) and the mandates assigned to it by the Summits of the Americas – mobilizing resources to confront extreme poverty and to promote democracy through actions that are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. For more information, visit www.trustfortheamericas.org.

Chiquita Brands International is a leading international marketer, producer and distributor of high-quality bananas and other fresh produce sold primarily under the premium Chiquita® brand. The company is one of the largest banana producers in the world and a major supplier of bananas in Europe and North America. The company also distributes and markets fresh-cut fruit and other branded, value-added fruit products.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Mitchell Chiquita (U.S.)
Phone: +1-513-784-8959
George Jaksch Chiquita (Europe)
Phone: +32-3-203-9135

 

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