In early 2020, eleven farms from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) project and the German supermarket chain Edeka, two of them in Ecuador and nine in Colombia, obtained AWS certification, a standard created by the global network of the Water Stewardship Alliance (AWS).
This recognition makes the Ecuadorian banana farms Elba and Encarnación the first to be certified under this international standard in the world and sets an important precedent to ensure the sustainability of banana production in the country, where their production employs 17% of the economically active population, it was indicated in a statement.
The certification seeks to promote responsible custody of water that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, through an inclusive process with multiple actors. The actions that promote certification not only cover the direct environment of banana farms, but also the basins of their rivers, expanding the line of commitment. The following year the rest of the project farms will be certified.
“Currently, the two certified farms continue to produce with a more comprehensive vision regarding the impact of their activities at the site and basin level, incorporating more participatory management with stakeholders. They have recirculation systems for process water, saving up to 80% of the water compared to packing plants that do not have this infrastructure, ”says Sandra Lima, Certification Manager at Dole Ecuador.
Since 2014, WWF works with Dole Food Company, the largest banana production company in Ecuador, and Edeka, with the aim of producing export bananas with high sustainability standards with the implementation of best socio-environmental practices and that meet the Objectives of United Nations Sustainable Development. (I)