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100 Percent of Chiquita-Owned Farms in Latin America Now Certified to International Labor Standard

Submitted by: Chiquita Brands International, Inc.

Categories: Human Rights

Posted: Jan 16, 2005 – 11:00 PM EST

 

SA8000 Certification in Guatemala and Honduras Achieved One Year Ahead of Target

Jan. 16 /CSRwire/ - CINCINNATI,OH - Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) announced today that independent auditors have certified its banana farms in Guatemala and Honduras to the Social Accountability 8000 (1) labor and human rights standard. With this achievement, 100 percent of Chiquita's owned banana farms in Latin America are now certified to the SA8000 international labor standard in addition to the stringent environmental standards of the Rainforest Alliance. These farms cover approximately 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) in total area and provide employment to more than 14,000 people.

"This accomplishment reflects our employees' tremendous efforts and commitment to attain high standards, which enhances worker satisfaction, increases productivity and improves the environment in which we live and work," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer.

Chiquita adopted SA8000 as the labor standard in its Code of Conduct in 2000, and the company committed to achieve SA8000 compliance and third-party certification in all of its owned banana divisions by year-end 2005.

"These efforts continue to reflect the importance of our Core Values," Aguirre continued. "I'm especially pleased that we achieved 100 percent certification to SA8000 a year ahead of target, because it is a clear indication of our employees' focus on strengthening our core business and becoming a high-performance organization."

In 2002, Chiquita's banana division in Costa Rica earned SA8000 certification, and the company's owned farms in Panama and Colombia were certified in 2003. (The company's banana operations in Colombia were sold in June 2004, and the new owner has agreed to maintain SA8000 certification on these farms.) Intertek Testing Services completed inspections of Chiquita's banana production, harvesting and packaging operations in the Maya division (Guatemala and Honduras) in October 2004 and issued the compliance certificate for this division early this year. In each of these countries, Chiquita's farms were the first major agricultural operations to achieve SA8000 certification.

Chiquita Brands International is a leading international marketer, producer and distributor of high-quality bananas and other fresh produce, which are sold under the premium Chiquita(R) 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.

Additional information is available at www.chiquita.com.

(1) Social Accountability 8000 is a comprehensive, verifiable standard based on International Labor Organization (ILO) and other human rights conventions. SA8000 sets performance standards in nine areas: child labor, forced labor, health and safety, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, discrimination, discipline, working hours, remuneration and management systems. For more information, visit Social Accountability International's web site at www.sa-intl.org.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Mitchell Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
Phone: +1-513-784-8959

 

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