Food and beverage giant Dole Sunshine Company is rerouting its excess pineapple leaves to create vegan leather. The international company just partnered with the creators of the vegan pineapple leather Pinatex, Ananas Anam. The two companies will work to minimize waste by using the spare pineapple leaves from the company’s plantations and factories to manufacture the Pinatex vegan leather. The partnership stems from Dole’s promise to have zero fruit loss by 2025 in an effort to reduce food waste and enhance the company’s sustainability practices.

Ananas Anam will be doubling down on its sustainability mission by teaming up with Dole farms. The vegan tech company aims to minimize waste and increase the quantity of cruelty-free products on the market, and by receiving material from Dole farms the company will be able to expand its production and distribution. The company’s Phillippines farm is one of the largest pineapple plantations in the world, giving Ananas Anam access to one of the biggest supplies of pineapple leaves.

“Through our partnership with Dole, our entity in the Philippines will access a much larger volume of pineapple leaf fibers, to meet the ever-increasing demand for Piñatex not only in fashion but also in the upholstery and automotive sectors,” Ananas Anam CEO Melanie Broye-Engelkes said. “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 valorizing waste at scale.”

The company will use the pineapple leaves to fashion its signature Pinatex product by washing, drying, and weaving the pineapple leaves into a base mesh material. The original design for the Pinatex leather was developed by Spanish designer Carmen Hijosa in 2016. The material is used as a frim base that’s treated with pigments and coatings that produce a durable and colorful vegan leather product.

The new supply chain will allow Ananas Anam to cut into carbon emissions from another direction. The vegan leather production will save 264 tons of carbon emissions from the 825 tons of leaves burned as excess in the pineapple industry. With the growing popularity of vegan leather and Ananas Anam’s own expansion, it is possible that Dole can quickly reach its zero-waste goal.

"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," the Global president of the Dole Sunshine Company Pier-Luigi Sigismondi said. "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."

Pinatex’s popularity has spiked since its debut in 2016, becoming an extremely popular vegan leather alternatives use by more than 1,000 lifestyle brands. The retail giant H&M debuted a Conscious Exclusive collection that featured the Pinatex vegan leather alongside several other sustainable textiles in 2019.

Earlier this year, Nike unveiled its legendary Air Force 1’s with a sustainable twist. The iconic shoes used Pinatex instead of traditional leather materials to create Nike’s Happy Pineapple collection. The collection also included Air Max 90, Air Max 95, and Air Zoom Type. The partnership put Ananas Anam in the fashion spotlight, emphasizing the potential of plant-based leather. The continued partnerships will help the company continue its campaign to boost sustainability in the fashion industry and now the food industry.

"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," Founder and Chief Creative & Innovation Officer at Ananas Anam Dr. Carmen Hijosa said. "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."

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