In a world where the word “waste” has such negative connotations, Dole Sunshine Company couldn’t be giving it a more positive twist!
Turning pineapple leaves into vegan leather is the newest, forward-thinking collaboration between food and beverage giant Dole and London-based vegan textile company Ananas Anam.
Having begun her career in the leather industry in the 1990s, Spanish-born founder Dr. Carmen Hijosa saw first-hand what a shocking impact mass leather production has on the environment and knew she could no longer take any part in it. It took lengthy research, arduous development and even a PhD for the creation of her innovative material Piñatex in 2016 – a non-woven textile made from pineapple leaf fibres.
Meanwhile, in the corporate world, US food-conglomerate Dole’s president, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, was becoming increasingly aware of the devastating contribution food waste has on climate change, quoting WWF in a statement: “If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming. This is absolutely important, as it is connected and interdependent in many ways. When we waste fruit or food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. And if it goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.”
It turns out that for each ton of harvested pineapples around 3 tonnes of leaves are discarded as a mere by-product – what a waste… goldmine!
Ananas Anam is taking advantage of this fruitful opportunity by integrating the bottom line with social, ecological and cultural development, leading the way in vegan leather alternatives and attracting large fashion brands such as Nike, Hugo Boss and H&M.
Dole’s pineapple plantation in the Philippines is one of the largest in the world, growing 2.5 million tonnes of pineapple a year. Using no additional land, water, fertilizer, or pesticides, the sourcing of Piñatex materials has no negative effects on our precious planet and not a single animal is harmed in the process. By coming together in this genius collaboration, Dole is able to make large strides towards its “zero-waste by 2025” goal and Ananas Anam secures itself a reliable pineapple leaf supplier.
The only by-product that results from this joint venture is the exciting new revenue stream both companies can provide pineapple farmers in the Philippines!
Considering the fact that approximately one third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste and we could reduce up to 8% of greenhouse gases if we stopped this senselessness, being able to witness businesses work together towards a sustainable future for all of us – humans and animals – is admirable and inspires optimism for the future.