Chiquita Brands International, Inc: Chiquita Celebrates Ten Years of Nogal Community Partnership

GlobeNewswire Europe

Chiquita Celebrates Ten Years of Nogal Community Partnership
Costa Rican Biodiversity Project Generates Net Positive Impact for Tropical Flora & Fauna

SARAPIQUI, COSTA RICA - May 29, 2014 - Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (CQB) today celebrated the tenth anniversary of its first biodiversity partnership at the Nogal Nature and Community Project, created and sustained with the support of partners Swiss retailer MIGROS, International Procurement and Logistics (IPL) of the United Kingdom, German development agency GIZ (formerly GTZ) and the Rainforest Alliance. During the past decade, the project`s partners have invested more than $1.5 million into reforestation, restoration of critical wildlife corridors, local community education and monitoring and investigation of tropical flora and fauna.

"From modest beginnings this pilot project has evolved into a model of biodiversity collaboration," said Ed Lonergan, Chiquita`s President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are delighted that this partnership has inspired additional projects that will contribute to a world better able to sustain future generations. We are very grateful to our partners MIGROS, GIZ, Rainforest Alliance and IPL, whose participation have made this possible. Sustainability commitments such as this are embedded in Chiquita`s Purpose and Core Values. We believe serving as a good citizen and providing a return to our shareholders are inseparable priorities for operating our business."

Ten years ago, the Nogal Nature & Community Project was founded at Chiquita`s Nogal forest reserve in Costa Rica as a pilot contributing to the conservation of the region`s exceptional biodiversity in collaboration with international partners, local organizations and communities. The project`s work to protect and connect forests has enabled species, such as the endangered Spider monkey, to move freely among once isolated forests. A key success factor for the project has been educational programming with local communities and schools designed to increase environmental awareness and the importance of conserving local biodiversity for future generations. As stated in the project`s motto: "To conserve biodiversity, with the community and for the community."  Key project results have included:

  • The Nogal forest reserve officially protected as a Private Wildlife Refuge;
  • 600 hectares of previously isolated forest areas have been reconnected to recreate a biological corridor for wildlife species;
  • More than 35,000 trees of 62 native species have been planted;
  • More than 22,000 school children and visitors have participated in the project`s environmental education programming;
  • 32 students from Costa Rican, European and North American universities have contributed research studies on tropical flora and fauna and;
  • A Spider monkey troop now uses the Nogal forest to find food, one of strongest indicators of the positive impact of the project`s reforestation initiatives to improve once degraded habitat.

"Nogal has demonstrated what can be achieved when local farmers, communities, government and retail partners join together to protect the environment," said Dr. Amanda Wendt, Project leader of Nogal. "For all of us involved in this project, it has been a joy to experience this collaboration. Nogal is an example of how the concept of `businesses and biodiversity` can be put into practice to create local impact. We hope that we will see the lessons of this project applied on a broader scale, and we look forward to continuing our work in Costa Rica with strong partners and great energy."

The success of the Nogal Nature and Community Project led to the creation in 2009 of the Changuinola-Sixaola partnership in the San San Pond Sak region of Costa Rica and Panama between Chiquita and German retailer REWE, the Costa Rican banana growers` association CORBANA and the German development agency GIZ. In addition, the Nogal and San San projects helped inspire the creation of the Biodiversity Partnership Mesoamerica (BPM), which has the mission of promoting similar biodiversity projects across Central America and recently received significant funding by the German government`s GIZ.

Marking the tenth anniversary of the Nogal project, partners, neighbors, and conservation experts met at Nogal to review the results achieved and to discuss future opportunities for enhancing joint sustainability efforts. Chiquita`s CEO Ed Lonergan and Corporate Responsibility Officer Manuel Rodriguez joined guests that included representatives of the German government`s GIZ, the Costa Rican government, IPL, the Rainforest Alliance, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature, among others.

Contacts: 
      Steve Himes, 980-636-5636, shimes@chiquita.com, (Investors & Analysts)
      Ed Loyd, 980-636-5145, eloyd@chiquita.com, (Media)

ABOUT CHIQUITA BRANDS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Chiquita Brands (CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of nutritious, high-quality fresh and value-added food products - from energy-rich bananas, blends of convenient green salads, other fruits to healthy snacking products. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 20,000 people and has operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit http://www.chiquita.com/.

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Source: Chiquita Brands International, Inc via GlobeNewswire

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