Saturday, August 12, 2006

On the Chiquita Banana Highway

Driving along the bumpy roads of Costa Rica, occasionally you come upon a rickety, one-lane bridge built by Minor Keith from the Chiquita Company at the turn of the century. According to the Lonely Planet Guide for Costa Rica (and the company's website), he built the bridges as part of the railroad that connected Puerto Limon to San Jose, but couldn’t pay the bills. He planted banana trees to feed his workforce and decided to try to sell the fruit in the U.S. Soon after the bananas were sold at markets around the world, raking in huge profits.

The success came at a price to the environment, however, and the company became notorious for environmental degradation. Now, with the help of a do-gooder within its ranks, the company has turned over a new leaf, according to a post in Treehugger. The company partnered with the Rainforest Alliance and now recycles 100 percent of its plastic bags and reduced its pesticide use by over a quarter.

It is nice to see companies changing policies because of one person who makes a difference, especially from a company known for its affect on the land it uses to profit. If only there was a BP employee that wanted to do the same…

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