Consumers have the ability to create change.  When you choose to buy products that are environmentally and socially responsible, you are making a difference.  

Problems arise when organizations use "green washing" as a way to get consumers to buy their products.  Green washing is a form of marketing that is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization's products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.  For many organizations it's much easier to make statements than it is to actually deliver on those statements.   

The following video is a news report on a complaint WASH filed against Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.  

The FTC recently released new Green Guides related to illegal "Green Washing".   Here is a summary quote: "sometimes what companies think their green claims mean and what consumers really understand are two different things.  The Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides are designed to help marketers avoid making environmental claims that mislead consumers."   Additional information on FTC's new Green Guide can be found here:

WASH believes Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc fails to pay local taxes and the bananas they purchase from third party farms contribute to the pollution of drinking water in villages in Guatemala.  

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc:

Water And Sanitation completed detailed trips to Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc sourced farms in the municipality of Tiquisate, Guatemala. 

Interviews with the finance director discovered non payment of local taxes.  Water samples and analysis were performed at various points along the river and from the well water of three affected communities.  Banana plantation practices were observed, including no natural vegetation or reforestation along river banks, and no buffer zone for schools and homes during chemical fumigation.  

WASH Believes Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc's Marketing Mislead Consumers:

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc made numerous claims that Water And Sanitation Health believes were false and mislead consumers.  Some of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc's claims included the following: 

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc stated that, “All over the world, our farms implement various water quality management programs according to local needs and regulations. Preventive measures such as proper disposal of solid and liquid wastes, buffer zones in areas adjacent to bodies of water and effective wastewater treatment facilities are continuously being implemented and re-evaluated. Soil erosion control measures such as planting of cover crops along field canals and waterways also contribute to effectively maintain the quality of runoff water.”  And later Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc stated that “Buffer zones are created to protect water sources and waterways.”

In other web-based marketing information Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc stated that, “It is the policy of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. to strictly observe and adhere to all laws and ethical standards applicable in all jurisdictions in which it conducts its business, to conduct its business affairs lawfully and ethically and to do so with honesty and integrity; there will be no waivers or exceptions in the name of competitive demands, social traditions, or other exigencies, except as permitted or required by law.” And later Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc stated that “We do not condone, accept, or practice any behavior that fails to meet the standards set forth in our Corporate Code of Conduct and Business Ethics Policy.”

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc stated that, “We comply with all laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”

WASH believes the above statements made by fresh del monte produce inc were false and misleading. Interviews with the finance director discovered non payment of local taxes and an InVESTIGATION REVEALED AN environmental catastrophe in the local communities.


Environmental Harm from Banana Production in the News:

"Pollution, Illness, Bland on Banana - Crop Pesticides." The Washington Times. 

"A Vicious Circle of Poison." U.S. News & WorldReport.

"Sterilization of Workers from Pesticide Exposure: The Causes and Consequences of DBCP- Induced Damage in Costa Rica and Beyond." International Journal of Health Service.

"The Price of Bananas." The Economist.

"The Cost of Bananas." The Economist.

"U.S. Pesticide Kills Foreign Fruit Pickers' Hopes." New York Times.

"The Human Guinea Pigs of Rio Frio." The Progressive. 

"Costa Rica: Dow-Oxy-Shell litigation; Costa Rican Workers Sue." Financial Times.

"The Riled Bunch." Washington Post. 

"Chemical Concern: Worries Are Growing Over Male Infertility Because of Job Hazards." Wall Street Journal.

"The South's Day in Court." Multinational Monitor.

"Costa Rican Firm Workers Sue in Texas, Alleging Work Exposure Caused Sterility."  International Trade Reporter. 

"Banana Banana." The Ecologist. 

"Pesticides and Policies: Approaches to Pest-Control Dilemmas in Nicaragua and Costa Rica." Latin American Perspectives.

"Banana Development in Costa Rica." Multinational Monitor.


Academic Articles on the Environmental Impact of Large Banana Plantations:

"Entrapment and Escape from Fruitless Insecticide Use: Lessons from the Banana sector of Costa Rica." International Journal of Environmental Studies.

"The Socio-Environmental Problems of Banana Plantations in Costa Rica." Vargas, Gerardo.  

"The Environmental Impact of the Banana Industry." Astorga, Y. 

"Bananas for the World and the Consequences for Costa Rica". Mora, B.A.  

"The Hidden Life of Bananas". Baxter, Terry.

"A Case of Bananas."  Ferguson, James. 

"Toxic Bananas." Multinational Monitor."  Wheat, A. 

"Afro-Jamaican Traditions and Labor organizing on United Fruit Company Plantations in Costa Rica." Chomsky, A. Journal of Social History.

"Incentives for Tropical Deforestation: some examples form Latin America." Mahar, D. and R. Schneider. 

"Tropical Deforestation: rates and patterns." Myers, N. 

"Inside Honduras." Norsworthy, K. and T. Barry. 

"Business In the Rainforest."  MacKerron, C. 

"Not By Timber Alone." Panayotou T. and P. Ashton. 

"Ethnicity at Work." Bourgois, P.I. 

"Roots of Rebellion."  Barry, T.  

"Costa Rica: A geographical Interpretation in Historical Perspective."  Hall, C. 

"Social Aspects of the Banana Industry."  Kepner, C. D. 

"The United Fruit Company in Latin America."  May S. and G. Plaza. 

"The Economy In Honduras: a Country Study."  Ruhl, M. 

"Breakfast of Biodiversity." Vandermeer, J. and I. Perfecto. 

Banana expert Dan Koeppel discusses the problem of banana monoculture, and why he says we
should demand banana variety in his book, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World.