The world’s largest producer of fruit and vegetable has partnered with a vegan textile startup to upcycle its fruit waste into vegan leather.
The Dole Sunshine Company has announced its partnership with plant-based startup Ananas Anam who has created the innovative vegan pineapple leather Piñatex.
The collaboration is part of Dole’s efforts to achieve zero fruit loss by 2025. It launched its six-prong Promise in June 2020 in which it committed to tackling food waste, eliminating processed sugar and plastics, improving nutrition access globally as well as transitioning towards a circular economy.
As part of the tie-up, the London-based Piñatex makers will repurpose the pineapple leaves from Dole farms in the Philippines. The fibre from the leaves will be extracted, dried and processed to create the non-woven mesh base of Piñatex.
The versatile vegan leather is currently being used by more than 1,000 lifestyle brands including Nike, Hugo Boss, H&M, Paul Smith and others to make everything from shoes to bags.
‘Addressing food waste’
Pier-Luigi Sigismondi is the Global President of the Dole Sunshine Company. He said: “At Dole, we believe purpose – and therefore our Promise – must permeate everything we do to address these global challenges head-on.
“Addressing food waste is absolutely important to us, as it is connected to our business and our lives in so many ways.
“I believe to create tangible solutions and real systemic change to address this issue, we need to converge our purpose with creativity, innovation, and technology.
“Our partnership with Ananas Anam coupled with global lifestyle brands’ use of this innovation truly bring this convergence to life in a new way.”
Carbon neutral goals
Upcycling pineapple leaves from its plantations will also help the world’s largest fruit and vegetable producer’s 2030 carbon neutral target.
Normally, for every ton of pineapples harvested, 3 tons of leaves are wasted, so the vegan leather production will save 264 tons of carbon emissions from the 825 tons of pineapple leaves burned otherwise.
“Our climate Promise is to source 100% renewable energy for our processing facilities and to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2019 levels,” CEO Dole Asia Holdings, Yutaka Yamamura said in a statement last year.
‘Wider positive social impact’
Additionally, the new initiative will bring in fresh revenue streams for small scale cooperatives and pineapple growers in the Philippines.
It will also further Ananas Anam’s goal to upscale its production and expand from the medium-sized company it currently is.
Melanie Broye-Engelkes, CEO of Ananas Anam said: “Through our partnership with Dole, our entity in the Philippines will access a much larger volume of pineapple leaf fibres, to meet the ever-increasing demand for Piñatex® not only in fashion but also in the upholstery and automotive sectors.
“Working closely with Dole’s teams on the ground will help us to create a wider positive social impact among farming communities and to continuously reduce our environmental footprint by valorising waste at scale.”
Dr Carmen Hijosa, Founder and Chief Creative & Innovation Officer at Ananas Anam added: “At Ananas Anam, we aim at meeting the challenges of our times by developing innovative products in which commercial success is integrated with, and promotes social, ecological and cultural development.
“ By connecting on a deep level with the people we work with, we build eco-systems that are bound together, symbiotically grow together in order to bring about positive changes into the world.”