Dole launches fund to fight food insecurity

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Just over six months after issuing The Dole Promise to the world, Dole Asia Holdings and its subsidiaries are now focusing on both global awareness and immediate action with the launch of its Sunshine for All Fund, a $2 million annual fund that will support global strategic partnerships and innovation in the crucial areas of sustainability, food access and waste. The fund is being launched in tandem with The Growing Distance, a short film that addresses the critical gaps the company sees as barriers to good nutrition for all.

Startling and ever-worsening global statistics around nutrition are driving Dole’s search for solutions.  For example, nearly one-quarter of the world’s population is experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity and globally one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted.  By partnering with talented innovators, promising start-ups, and progressive partners, the Fund will address these gaps of affordability and waste, as well accessibility and acceptability – all driving to fulfil Dole’s Promise and for People, the Planet, and our collective Prosperity.

“We believe purpose must permeate every part of the company to address these global challenges—from our business model and the products we make, to our work with partners, what we lobby for, and how we strive for a more equal world,” said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, president, Dole Packaged Foods Worldwide. “Raising awareness of the global issues we face, and investing in the best thinking through this fund, is our way of ensuring not only that our purpose is fulfilled, but that we are driving tangible solutions and real systemic change – today.” 

Dole recognizes the need for collaboration with like-minded partners to join in the fight against food injustice around the world. Thus, the company is seeking partners – from entrepreneurs,  start-ups, strategic thinking to social impact enterprises, and NGOs – to bring their expertise in food production, nutritional science, compostable packaging, supply chain, logistics, sustainable agriculture and fast-moving consumer goods, to bear.  

“Our work to bring Sunshine for All during the pandemic reinforced our belief that people will join us when they believe in what we do,” said Barbara Guerpillon, Global Head of Ventures, Dole Packaged Foods and Asia Fresh. “The Fund is our signal to the world that we are open for business and that business is finding, fuelling and fostering innovation, actions and change.”

On Dole’s UK efforts specifically:

Dole has indicated the UK is a priority market central to its business transformation and renewed focus in Europe. The UK is currently Dole Packaged Foods largest market in Europe, where it is the proud category leader in fruit and juice and fruit and jelly. Expect to see more product and category innovation from Dole in the coming months as they transform from a packaged foods company to a health and nutrition company.

Collaborations and partnerships are key to meeting the ambitious goals of the Dole Promise – which forms the backbone of their innovative business strategy. The Sunshine For All Fund – open to UK businesses – is one more way forward. By partnering with talented innovators, promising start-ups, and progressive partners, the Fund will address these gaps of affordability and waste, as well accessibility and acceptability – all driving to fulfil Dole’s Promise and for People, the Planet, and our collective Prosperity.

Dole has taken steps to act on their global promise in the UK, where food insecurity and malnutrition are pressing issues made worse by the pandemic. Currently one in five (21%) of adults in London have low or very low food security, and 1.2 million people in the UK are living in low income areas where households struggle to buy affordable fresh fruit and vegetables.

Since the start of the pandemic Dole has made product donations to FareShare UK and St. Mungo’s, most recently donating over 10,000 cases (44,000+ units) of its products to help hungry families. Dole continues to collaborate with FareShare.

Jo Dyson, head of food, FareShare UK, said: “Dole’s products are always very popular with our network of charities — being nutritious and shelf-stable; they represent exactly the type of food products our partner charities and community groups want and need.”

Another recent effort includes the #UnstuffedBears campaign benefiting Save the Children UK, which raised awareness and funds for hungry families over Christmas.