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UK Sustainability Story

Dole UK is proud of our position in the marketplace and for that reason we have taken a lead and created the Go Green sustainability program encouraging branches and business units across the group to undertake site based projects, and to set measurable sustainability targets aligned with Dole plc targets. Dole UK’s focus is energy management, water conservation, waste and circularity, sustainable agriculture, community engagement and diversity and inclusion.

Dole UK has a unique research and development site that explores all facets of the Dole Way nature, people and the future production systems for food. Inside a modern, environmentally controlled production unit we trial academic concepts that could one day help growers and farmers achieve net zero production. Current trials include alternative substrates and growing media, deep water hydroponics, novel solutions for increased production (nanobubbles, sugar dots) and robotics. A recent addition is an experimental vertical farm, focused on production and propagation beyond baby leaves.

Go Green

Is our initiative designed to encourage all our facilities to actively engage in sustainability by setting up and committing to monthly activities to reduce waste, save water, help out in the local community and change the way we think and act.

Go Green

For Nature

  • Climate Action

    In Dole, we have been working hard to reduce carbon emissions associated with our operations. In 2018, we transitioned the electricity supply across each of our national depots to renewable energy - delivering a reduction in emissions of 65% overall. In 2022 we began installing solar panels on our facilities, beginning in Ireland and in the UK we saw our first solar panels installed on our Spalding facility.  Dole UK is currently investigating further installations in Edinburgh, Hereford and Bodmin.

  • Holistic Water for Horticulture

    Water Stewardship

    Dole UK is proud to be part of the Holistic Water for Horticulture (HWH) project, which applies a ‘whole system’ approach, working with growers and stakeholders in the Medway area to develop measures for sustainable water management around Kent berry production areas. HWH is one of several projects in vital sourcing catchment areas across the UK which supports collaborative action across the UK food chain to reduce water stress, food waste and greenhouse gas emissions, helping the UK produce industry meet key environmental goals. 

    Medway river
  • The Alliance for Water Stewardship

    Water Stewardship

    The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), launched in 2009, provides guidance and a framework to ensure responsible water governance, sustainable water balance and good water quality. Dole UK have been an active member of the AWS Agriculture working group, sharing information on water management projects with AWS members around the world. The aim of the AWS standard is to drive social, environmental and economic improvement by engaging with operational sites and growers to better understand and address water challenges in their respective catchment areas. H

    Water waves
  • Water Conservation

    Water Stewardship

    Every year new ideas are tested in our Future of Foods site and for the last three years we have unique partnership project with Red Sea Farms to develop a deep-water hydroponic production system. Work so far has shown that the plants and roots develop well, and interestingly only use the water they need, plants are not over watered and as the water is recirculated there is a significant saving in the volume of water required to grow a kilo of strawberries, compared to soil or substrate production. The technology also allows for the system to be cooled and heated enabling season extension, therefore increased productivity, and lowering overall input costs.

    Sarah irr
  • Waste Management

    When we asked our Dole UK branches what could they do to improve their sustainability credentials,, the over whelming response was to improve waste management. As part of our Go Green program we have started a case study in Leicester market with the support of the market manager and Biffa. We have audited the waste streams, calculated capacities and reviewed are equipment needs. The next stage is to start reporting the data to show other branches the benefits of sorting waste streams, compacting and working together with your waste management provider to continuously improve. 

    Waste Card
  • Packaging

    We know that UK consumers are very concerned about unnecessary use of plastic packaging on fresh produce. We keep the amount of plastic employed under constant review, removing or replacing plastic wherever possible and making sustainable alternatives available on the retail shelf. In Dole UK we have trialed and currently trialing many new packaging alternatives and ways to reduce plastic, that still provide the benefits of current packaging options such as improved shelf life, low carbon footprint, food security, product protection and quality. 

    SP loading
  • Food Waste

    At Dole, we have always been very careful about reducing the level of waste in our operations. It is closely monitored and minimised from farm to fork. We also try to collaborate with industry stakeholders, inspire and empower consumers and growers to reduce waste when it comes to fruits & vegetables. We have supported many WRAP initiatives over the years, most recently the WRAP on farm food waste project. Dole UK were proud to support a grower case study that aimed to motivate the supply chain, farm advisers and growers to support on-farm measurement of food waste and engage, collaborate in identifying whole chain solutions. 

    Blueberry boxes

For People

  • Production

    In Dole UK we've created a demonstration and development site focused on the future of food which aims to show our growers, customers and colleagues, new technologies that will change the way we grow and produce our food. The future of food site is focused on investigating and trying new production methods and processes that are more sustainable, have lower emissions and protect our natural resources. Our main aim is to take academic ideas and turn them into a practical reality, with a clear sustainable business case, therefore making the next step in the route towards sustainability obvious to all.

    Future of Food VF
  • Aqra project Egypt

    Human Rights

    Egypt can be a high risk sourcing country and our team on the ground identified that women were disadvantaged in the workplace due to the lack of literacy. This prevented them from moving into supervisory roles despite having the necessary experience because they were unable to complete the documented checks required. As a joint project with selected growers, the Egyptian Department for Education and Dole UK we funded an initiative where workers received free access to Arabic classes. This program is ongoing and our hope is that it will encourage more women into supervisory roles and also allow them to become more independent in their everyday life.

    Aqra Project
  • Company Support

    Employee Welfare

    Dole UK is committed to ensuring its employees have options available to them if they require support during difficult times in their lives. The Company has in place a dedicated Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and has partnered with GroceryAid who provide both financial and wellbeing support to those who work in the grocery industry. The Company hosts wellbeing campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of selfcare and encouraging all to be supportive of others in times of need.

    Vanessa Office
  • Diversity and Inclusion

    Dole UK wants its colleagues to come to work, feeling comfortable and confident to be their true selves, we all should feel included and valued, irrespective and, indeed because of, our differences. We actively encourage all employees to treat each other with dignity and respect.

    Dole UK is on a journey, and we strongly believe we need to keep moving forward to make the world a fairer place. Dole UK works with other external bodies in this arena learning and sharing their D&I experiences. Diversity and Inclusion is very much cemented on our UK business agenda. 

    Emily Chee

For Food

  • Responsible Sourcing

    At Dole UK our growers and suppliers are truly at the heart of everything we do. Our constant pursuit of collaboration means we are engaging with communities in which we work. We are constantly managing seasonality, promoting locally sourced produce, and playing a huge role in making the supply chain short and efficient.

    Both home and abroad we pursue best practice in production practice and operational efficiency. Across production, throughout our logistics infrastructure and in the marketplace, we work with large volumes that not only provides carbon efficient supply but provides improved value in the market for stakeholders up and down stream.

    GO Organic Landscape
  • Industry Collaboration

    In Dole UK the mantra is continuous improvement, never standing still, always looking towards the future and the next development. With topics that affect the whole industry, such as sustainability, responsible sourcing, worker welfare, modern slavery, D&I and market development. We believe collaboration will get us there quicker, we want to lead the industry but at times sharing knowledge and best practice brings wider benefits for the many stakeholders in the fresh produce supply chain

    LD PH0270330 LA Vn 3mb
  • Responsible Sourcing: Local

    In Dole, we work with a network of the very best British growers. Across each of our depots , we commit to putting “Local Produce First”; prioritising locally grown produce where it is available, commercially viable and environmentally responsible to do so. We undertake to provide, where possible and practical, agronomic assistance to help local growers achieve the quality standards and accreditations necessary in the modern marketplace, financial, logistical and operational support to ensure local produce reaches local consumers in pristine condition and the commercial, marketing and promotional expertise and resources necessary to place local produce at the heart of the portfolio of produce we present to customers across the UK.

    Carrots local

Further Information

  • Man planting in dirt

    Food Safety

  • Wind

    Energy Conservation & Management

  • Sustainability Feature

    Dole plc Sustainability Report