Sustainability

Providing Environmental Protection, Development and Education in the Nogal Nature Reserve

25 May 2020

As part of Chiquita’s commitment to being a ‘Good Neighbor’

in the communities in which it cultivates its tasty bananas, the brand is proud to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Nogal Nature and Community Reserve. The Nogal Reserve was established as a result of a joint effort between Chiquita Brands and a portion of its clients to advance the preservation and protection of biodiversity while also improving the quality of life of the people within the community.

Nogal Butterfly

Nogal is located within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which was created in the 1990s to protect and connect the area’s natural resources. Surrounded by oceans, volcanic mountain ranges, deserts and lush rainforests, Central America is the world’s third largest biodiversity hotspot, containing more than 7% of all known species. With support from the German Society for International Cooperation, Costa Rican government and Rainforest Alliance, Chiquita has implemented a variety of sustainability initiatives to support environmental conservation and education, resulting in the protection of more than 720 plant and 339 animal species within the reserve’s 257 acres of land.

 

Nogal Lizard

“Chiquita invests a tremendous amount of thought and effort into biodiversity protection, and the Nogal Nature and Community Reserve in Costa Rica is a shining example of our positive environmental impact,” said Raul Gigena Pazos, Human Resources and Sustainability Director for Chiquita. “We hope that our work with the local government, various organizations and community members can act as a model of conservation and responsible production for others to follow.”

 

Chiquita’s key areas of focus at the Nogal Wildlife Reserve include:

 

Wildlife Protection

Nogal, as a private protected area recognized by the government of Costa Rica, is home to 720 plant species and 339 vertebrate animal species including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Chiquita’s forest patrol monitors and protects vulnerable wildlife within the reserve by fighting off illegal hunting to maintain its rich biodiversity. As a result of the brand’s efforts, new species such as a tapir, bell bird and yellow spotted lizard have all been spotted within the last three years. These appearances indicate that Nogal has wildlife connections to and from other forested reserves in the area, allowing animals to move safely from one to another in search of food sources.

 

Nogal Birds

 

Reforestation

To support reforestation in Nogal, Chiquita has donated over 20,000 trees to be planted within the reserve. Planting trees not only improves air quality, but also helps to create safe shelter for wildlife. Trees can also play a key role in reducing the risk of natural disasters like floods and landslides. For example, Chiquita and local farmers planted trees on a vacant baseball field (that was Company’s property) in the reserve to act as a barrier to flooding that comes from the nearby Sucio river.

 

Community Education & Development

Since the creation of the Nogal project, Chiquita has sought to inspire and involve local community members in its mission by coordinating environmental education programs. Since its inception, more than 30,000 students and farmers have participated in the programs, gaining knowledge of biodiversity, waste management, ecosystem services and conservation. In addition to providing beneficial educational resources, Chiquita has also expanded Nogal’s infrastructure by helping to build a school cafeteria, open air gym and library with community internet access.

 

Chiquita’s efforts in Nogal contribute to the brand’s overarching ‘Behind the Blue Sticker’ approach. This approach, embedded in all operations, embraces partnerships with key organizations to promote sustainability and environmentally friendly practices from the farms where Chiquita grows its bananas all the way to grocery store shelves.

 

To learn more about Chiquita’s environmental efforts, download the brand’s updated sustainability report here.

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