Is Eating Pineapples Ethical & Sustainable? Here Are the Facts
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ? You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts. Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click. But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend. First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide. And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you. And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you. When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you). And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself. You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money. Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go. Stay impactful,
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
Pineapples are a booming industry, with 30 million tons produced every single year. They’re nutritious too, as a cancer-fighting fruit loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C. Furthermore, this fruit has been a historical symbol of hospitality and welcome, especially in South America. But the production of pineapples can also have some serious impacts on the resources required and workers involved. So, we had to ask: Is eating pineapples ethical and sustainable?
Eating pineapples can be fairly unethical. There are several findings that indicate the pineapple industry has engaged in child labor, as well as very low wages and unsafe chemical practices. However, their wages are above the national average in Costa Rica, despite hours being very high.
Pineapples are a fairly unsustainable fruit. They contribute to rainforest destruction, use monoculture farming, high amounts of pesticides, and plastic packaging. However, they also have a low carbon footprint and don’t require a significant amount of irrigation.
In this article, we will assess both the ethical and sustainability practices of the pineapple industry. Through these two lenses, you will be able to gain in-depth knowledge on the overall impacts of the pineapples that you eat!
Here’s How We Assessed the Ethics & Sustainability of Pineapples
The Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) is one of the ways we measure the externalities of our actions, like the consumption of pineapples. It is a holistic assessment based on the potential impact of food and agriculture operations on the environment and people. Those impacts are changes in our environment that can have adverse effects on the air, land, water, fish, and wildlife or the inhabitants of the ecosystem.
“Ethical: The discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad and morally right and wrong”Encyclopedia Britannica
Ethics and sustainability are closely interconnected concepts that share a common objective: the well-being and preservation of our planet, including all its life and future generations.
“Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”Oxford Dictionary
Basically, all goods and services you buy—including pineapples—leave an impact on people, animals, and our environment. And when it comes to food in general, the following are key factors for their ethics and sustainability:
- Social and economic conditions: The ethics of food crucially depends on the social and economic conditions of the farmers who grow them. Especially on fair labor practices, including fair wages and safe working conditions.
- Seasonality: Eating seasonally is a lever of sustainability. The two key reasons are that seasonal food is more likely grown in their “natural growing season” without using greenhouses, and also more likely to be grown locally.
- Land requirements: Large parts of the world that were once covered by forests and wildlands are now used for agriculture. 10 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually and 50% of the world’s habitable land is now used for agriculture. This loss of natural habitat has been the main driver for reducing the world’s biodiversity.
- Water footprint: 70% of global freshwater is now used for agricultural purposes. By assessing the water footprint of a particular food, we can determine how our limited freshwater resources are being consumed and polluted.
- Pesticide and fertilizer usage: Pesticides and fertilizers provide a range of agricultural benefits. However, numerous studies link pesticides and fertilizers to serious effects on human health, along with disruptions to vital ecosystems and the spread of aquatic dead zones.
- Carbon footprint: The carbon footprint is one of the ways we measure the effects of human-induced global climate change. Today, food production accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Waste generation: Food and its packaging account for almost 45% of the materials landfilled in the US alone. And packaging sent to landfills, especially when made from plastics, does not degrade quickly or, in some cases, at all.
To understand the overall environmental impact of pineapples, we must assess each of their key factors. This Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) is a tool developed for assessing the impact of food and agriculture operations on the environment and people. And this tool helps us to evaluate whether eating pineapples is ethical & sustainable.
Here’s How Ethical & Sustainable Eating Pineapples Is
The overall ethics & sustainability of pineapples is fairly low. They engage in several unethical practices, such as poverty wages and child labor, and they also participate in unsustainable practices like rainforest destruction and contribute significantly to landfills.
There are some positive qualities to pineapples’ sustainability. For example, they have a very low carbon footprint and don’t need a significant amount of irrigation. However, they still engage in a significant number of unsustainable practices.
So, let’s have a look at the ethics & sustainability impact of each key factor of pineapples!
|Key Assessment Factors||Ethics & Sustainability|
|Social and economic conditions of pineapples||Pineapples’ social and economic conditions are seriously bad. In many countries, pineapple workers don’t make anywhere near a living wage, and are exposed to chemical dangers. On top of this, there have been significant child labor reports.|
|Seasonality of pineapples||Pineapples aren’t widely produced in the US and so are imported year-round from Costa Rica, where they are always in season. Thus, their seasonality means they are relatively unsustainable year-round due to the energy required through transportation.|
|Land requirements for pineapples||Pineapples’ land requirements are very low. But, they use harmful monoculture growth techniques which can harm local wildlife due to the lack of crop diversity.|
|Water footprint of pineapples||Pineapples have a moderate water footprint of 50 inches per year. They are grown in Costa Rica, which has enough rainfall to water them, and so they don’t need irrigation. However, their pesticide usage means that excess water is needed to clean up harmful residue.|
|Agrochemical usage for pineapples||Pineapples use a significant amount of pesticides and harmful fertilizers, such as nitrogen. This is a very unsustainable practice.|
|Carbon footprint of pineapples||Pineapples have a very low carbon footprint of 0.09 kg (0.20 lb) of CO2e per pound of pineapples. Most of these emissions come from their high pesticide use, transportation emissions (e.g., to get them from Costa Rica to the US), and their low composting rates.|
|Waste generation of pineapples||Pineapples’ waste generation is high. This is mainly because they use plastic packaging and their organic waste isn’t often composted.|
These are the overall summaries, but there is a lot more to the story. In the next few sections, we will dive deeper into each stage to illustrate to you all the important aspects of pineapples’ ethics & sustainability.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Social and Economic Conditions for Pineapples
Pineapples’ social and economic conditions are seriously bad. In many countries, pineapple workers don’t make anywhere near a living wage, and are exposed to chemical dangers. On top of this, there have been significant child labor reports.
Everything we consume was made or harvested by somebody. In past centuries, this was often someone who lived in your community and who you might have even known personally. But through the rise of globalized distribution systems, we have become increasingly alienated from the people who make our food. This leaves a lot of room for exploitation and abuse, both of which are rampant in the food industry. Here, we will look at how the pineapple industry fares in relation to these ethical questions.
How ethical & sustainable are the social and economic conditions of growing pineapples?
- Are farmers paid fair wages to grow pineapples: The Philippines, which is one of the world’s biggest pineapple exporters, has a very bad track record when it comes to pineapple pickers’ wages. Many pineapple agricultural workers in the Philippines earn what are considered to be poverty wages. One reason for this is that around 85% of the workforce are contractors, meaning they lack the rights of official employees, and thus can earn as little as the equivalent of $4.30 USD per day, or around $130 per month. The cost of living before rent in the Philippines is valued at around $500 per month, meaning that pineapple industry workers can’t afford a basic standard of living in their own country.
- How safe are the working conditions to grow pineapples: In Costa Rica, reports indicate that pineapple workers work in close contact with several dangerous herbicides and pesticides. One example is the widespread use of paraquat, which is banned in the EU and is known to be associated with debilitating and even fatal poisoning. These chemical conditions are clearly unsafe and mean that pineapple workers in Costa Rica run a very high risk of health issues.
- Are there reports of child or forced labor to grow pineapples: In Brazil, there have been reports of child labor in the pineapple industry, despite it being technically illegal in the country. Child labor is a major issue in Brazil, with around 2.1% of the 5–14 population involved in the labor force. Many of these children are exposed to the same dangers as adult workers, including chemical poisoning and the use of dangerous machinery.
- What is the wider economic impact on the communities that grow pineapples: There are several implications for the low wages associated with the pineapple industry. In Costa Rica, the wages are better than in the Philippines, just over the national average salary. However, most workers put in an average of 80 hours per week, which means that their wages are very low per hour. Costa Rica has a very high unemployment rate, which creates a scarcity market for jobs. This means that employers have inflated power and can demand these longer hours and lower pay. This situation affects women disproportionately, with sexual discrimination and harassment being a common problem in the Costa Rican pineapple industry.
In short, the pineapple industry’s use of horrific practices like child labor and poverty wages means that they are a very unethical fruit in terms of their production.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Seasonality for Pineapples
Pineapples’ seasonality is a minor contributor to their sustainability. This is because they are imported year-round from Costa Rica, where they are always in season.
Every fruit has a natural season in which they grow, usually lasting a couple of months, which can range depending on the region. However, international demand for every kind of fruit is year-round. This demand is often met by importing fruits from tropical places which can grow year-round, or by growing them in greenhouses. Both of these methods use more resources and are thus less sustainable than conventional farming. Here, we will look at how the pineapple industry accommodates year-round demand.
How ethical & sustainable is it to grow pineapples in-season vs out-of-season?
- When is the natural season for growing and harvesting pineapples: In general, pineapples can grow in places like Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and even Florida. However, the US imports almost all its pineapples from Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, pineapples are actually in season year-round, meaning there isn’t a significant difference in availability throughout the year. However, there is a small boost in pineapple growth around autumn.
- How are pineapples naturally grown in-season: Pineapples grow as individual plants and bear fruit after roughly 12 months of growth. In the fall, pineapple production is high because it occurs at the end of the rainy season, causing a more bountiful harvest. This is why pineapples have historically been a Thanksgiving tradition, arriving just in time for the November holiday!
- How are pineapples grown out-of-season: Since pineapples don’t have significant seasons, they are grown much the same way in-season and out-of-season. This means that no matter the time of year you buy pineapples, they are being imported. Thus, though their seasonality isn’t important, they are inherently less sustainable than other fruits that are grown domestically.
In short, the fact that pineapples are imported from Costa Rica year-round means that they are relatively unsustainable. However, different seasons don’t affect their sustainability very much.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Land Requirements for Pineapples
Pineapples’ land requirements are very low. But, they use monoculture growth techniques which are very unsustainable.
The growth stage has a major impact on fruits’ sustainability. The amount of land used, especially in relation to its expansion, the method with which they are grown, and their effect on surrounding land and wildlife are all important factors. In this section, we will look at the ways in which pineapples’ land usage affects their sustainability.
How ethical & sustainable are the land requirements for growing pineapples?
- What is the land usage of pineapples: Pineapples have an incredibly high yield of 70–100 tons per hectare. This is one of the densest yields amongst fruits. For example, many fruits such as strawberries and mangoes fall into the 5–25 tons per hectare range. The lower density of pineapples’ farming means that each individual pineapple needs less space to grow, therefore less natural land is used.
- Where and how are pineapples grown: Most pineapples are grown in Costa Rica. The country produces around 84% of the world’s pineapples. Pineapples actually have carbon-sequestering properties. This means they store carbon within the soil, reducing their carbon footprint. However, pineapples are also grown in monocultures. Monocultures are terrible for biodiversity as they limit pollination, soil microbes, and other wildlife.
- How does the growing of pineapples affect soil fertility and erosion: Pineapples have been associated with soil erosion. Soil erosion is very unsustainable as it can render lands uninhabitable over time and can even cause widespread pollution.
- How does the pineapple industry affect the loss of habitable land: The monocultures within the pineapple farming industry mean that they have a devastating impact on the environment. In Costa Rica, the pineapple industry has increased rapidly, leading to more and more land being cleared.
- How does the pineapple industry affect wildlife and biodiversity: Monocultures wreak havoc on biodiversity. They are particularly damaging because they limit varied food sources for surrounding wildlife.
In short, pineapples are very unsustainable in their land practices. This is primarily because they use monoculture farming and contribute to soil erosion. However, they have a much higher yield than most other fruits.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Water Footprint of Pineapples
Pineapples have a moderate water footprint of 50 inches per year. Because of where they grow, they don’t need irrigation. However, their pesticide usage means that excess water is needed to clean up harmful residue.
Water usage is one of the most important factors in a fruit’s sustainability. Practices like irrigation use significant resources and can cause pollution, and as such, factors like the amount of water used, where it is sourced, as well as the way they affect the water sources around them, are all important. Here, we will look at these different angles of pineapples’ water footprint.
How ethical & sustainable is the water footprint of growing pineapples?
- What is the overall water usage of pineapples: Pineapples need about 50 inches of water per year, which is average compared to other fruits.
- What is the green water footprint of pineapples: The green water footprint is the amount of water from precipitation stored in the soil and used by plants for growth. Most pineapples consumed in the US come from Costa Rica, which gets around 100 inches of rain per year. This means that only about half of Costa Rica’s rain has to go towards pineapple farming. Their green water footprint is thus very low.
- What is the blue water footprint of pineapples: The blue water footprint is the amount of water sourced from surface (such as rivers or lakes) or groundwater resources. Pineapples need little to no irrigation because Costa Rica’s 100-inch per-year rain measurement more than covers their 50-inch-per-year water requirement. Therefore, their blue water footprint is very low.
- What is the gray water footprint of pineapples: The gray water footprint is the amount of freshwater required to clean up water pollution to meet certain quality standards. Essentially, it’s the amount of water needed to make polluted water clean enough to be safe and healthy for humans and the environment. Pineapples use a very high amount of pesticides during their growth process. This means that there is a considerable amount of water needed to clear away their pesticide residue and so their gray water footprint is high.
- How does the pineapple industry affect freshwater and ocean pollution: Pineapples’ use of extensive pesticides, as well as nitrogen fertilizer, means that they cause significant damage to waterways and aquatic life. These practices are very unsustainable.
In short, pineapples’ lack of irrigation requirements means that they are fairly sustainable in the water department. However, their high pesticide use causes significant harm to surrounding wildlife and waterways.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Agrochemical Usage for Pineapples
Pineapples use a significant amount of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. This is a very unsustainable practice.
Pesticides and fertilizers are agrochemicals that are very unsustainable and damaging to ecosystems. This is because they require resources to create and can easily run off into groundwater and soil systems. Here, we will look at how sustainable pineapples’ pesticide and fertilizer rates really are.
How ethical & sustainable is the agrochemical usage of growing pineapples?
- What is the pesticide usage of pineapples: Pineapples use a very high amount of pesticides. Pesticides not only have adverse effects on groundwater, but they can also impact wildlife, insect populations, and soil microbes.
- What is the fertilizer usage of pineapples: Pineapples use nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen has a very negative impact on the environment, causing major pollution. The environmental impact of pineapples is thus very negative in this category.
- Are there any known issues connected to the agrochemical usage for pineapples: Nitrogen fertilizers are very bad for the environment. They can cause air pollution, which affects the breathing of humans and animals alike. They can also easily run into waterways, which is devastating to marine life, plus they pollute the soil, potentially affecting native plant life.
In short, pineapples’ use of harmful pesticides and nitrogen fertilizer is very unsustainable, mainly because they cause considerable pollution and harm to wildlife.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Carbon Footprint of Pineapples
Pineapples have a very low carbon footprint of 0.09 kg (0.20 lb) of CO2e per pound of pineapples. Most of these emissions come from their high pesticide use, transportation emissions (e.g., to get them from Costa Rica to the US), and their low composting rates.
Carbon footprint is one aspect of the overall sustainability of a fruit. It essentially measures how much carbon or other greenhouse gasses the production of fruits emits into the atmosphere. Emissions from product manufacturing, irrigation, transportation fuel, and landfills all add up to create the overall carbon footprint of a fruit. Let’s see how the carbon footprint of pineapples contributes to their overall sustainability.
How ethical & sustainable is the carbon footprint of pineapples?
- What is the overall carbon footprint of pineapples: The overall carbon footprint of pineapples is 0.09 kg (0.20 lb) of CO2e per pound of pineapples. This means that for every pound of pineapples produced, 0.09 kg of carbon is emitted into the atmosphere. This is a very low carbon footprint compared to other fruits.
- What are the main contributors to the carbon footprint of pineapples: The main factors that contribute to this are high pesticide use, considerable transportation from Costa Rica, refrigeration during shipping, and a lack of consistent composting efforts, the latter of which releases considerable methane.
- Which life-cycle stage of pineapples has the highest carbon footprint: Transportation is the life cycle with the biggest contributions to pineapples’ carbon footprint. This is because they are both being transported considerable distances from Costa Rica, as well as being refrigerated during that transportation.
In short, pineapples’ very low carbon footprint means that it has a very minimal impact on their sustainability. However, several of their practices, such as their need for continuous refrigeration, are unsustainable from a carbon perspective.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Waste Generation of Pineapples
Pineapples’ waste generation is high. This is mainly because they use plastic packaging and their organic waste isn’t often composted.
When fruit waste, either in the form of packaging or organic materials, is disposed of, it can cause a lot of problems. Whether it’s damaging wildlife, getting into oceans, emitting methane, or dissolving into microplastics that contaminate groundwater, all these materials have their part to play. The sheer amount of waste we produce is reaching a crisis point and won’t be able to continue much longer. In this section, we will look at how sustainable pineapples’ waste generation is.
How ethical & sustainable is the waste generation of pineapples?
- What is the packaging of pineapples: Pineapples use both cardboard and plastic packaging, both of which have considerable environmental impacts during their manufacturing. Plastic pollutes the environment, creates harmful chemical emissions, and uses fossil fuels just in its production process. Cardboard, though better than plastic, still contributes to deforestation.
- How is the packaging of pineapples disposed of: Pineapples don’t generally have packaging at the consumer level, so most of the packaging disposal is up to the manufacturers or sellers. Cardboard has a very high recycling rate, at around 89%. Plastic, on the other hand, has a very low recycling rate at around 9%. Furthermore, plastic acts as a major pollutant after it is disposed of, especially when it ends up in landfills or the ocean. One major problem associated with plastic is microplastics, which are particularly harmful to soil and groundwater.
- How are pineapples disposed of: Pineapples have skins and a stem that are generally not eaten by people. These can theoretically be composted. However, only about 4% of compostable materials are actually composted, meaning that most simply go to landfills. Furthermore, throwing food waste in landfills generates methane, which is a very harmful greenhouse gas.
In short, pineapples’ use of plastic packaging means that they are fairly unsustainable at this stage, considering plastic packaging contributes significantly to landfills and pollution.
What Have Been Historical Ethics & Sustainability Issues Connected to the Pineapples Industry
Pineapples have partaken in some farming practices that have harmed the environment substantially over the years. These include destruction to Costa Rican rainforests and wetlands, chemical runoffs getting into waterways, and wildlife habitat loss.
All fruits have had a complex road toward global distribution. They originate in one part of the world and often travel far to end up in your local supermarket. From farm to table, some of our favorite fruits have used unsustainable practices. Whether it’s exploiting labor, deforestation to meet demand, water pollution, or disruption of wildlife, most fruits have left a path of destruction. Many of these effects are still felt today or have even increased. Let’s see how pineapples have fared throughout history.
What have been the key ethical & sustainable issues of the pineapples industry?
- Has labor been exploited because of pineapple production: There have been several labor-based lawsuits and cases involved with the pineapple industry. One such example was a 2021 settlement of $5 million that was granted to Thai workers in Hawaii from the US government. The settlement was due to pineapple farm owners instigating physical abuse against workers. Cases like these demonstrate some of the serious ethical issues that have arisen in the pineapple industry.
- How much land has been lost because of pineapple production: Deforestation in Costa Rica has been devastating to wildlife. Many species consider this rainforest their home and have been severely damaged by deforestation and chemical pollution caused by the pineapples industry. One case in 2011 found that pineapple plantations were illegally destroying wetlands, burning forests, and impeding on wildlife preserve land. The pineapple industry has been particularly harmful to the rainforests of Costa Rica, which have been heavily deforested to make way for pineapple farming. Between 1970 and 2020, pineapple production grew by 400%. It is estimated that around ½–⅓ of the rainforests in Costa Rica were lost during the late 20th century. However, Costa Rica has revitalized this rainforest considerably in recent years, meaning that they have reversed some of the damage the pineapple industry has caused. Thus, today, pineapples’ contribution to land loss is moderate.
- Which wildlife species have been negatively impacted or displaced because of pineapple production: Costa Rica has fortunately made significant efforts over the years to reverse deforestation, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t harmed wildlife. Some of these wildlife include the squirrel monkey, the great green macaw, and the jaguar, all of which are endangered or threatened.
- Have water sources and soil been contaminated because of pineapple production: The heavy rainfall of Costa Rica might be beneficial for irrigation, but it also means that the agrochemicals used in pineapple farming are washed into water sources. Rivers, groundwater, and other waterways all over Costa Rica have been impacted by these runoff chemicals, regardless of whether they were immediately near a plantation. Nitrogen fertilizer in particular promotes invasive algae growth, which can be devastating to marine life.
In short, the pineapple industry’s encroachment on the Costa Rican rainforest, as well as rivers and wildlife in general, means their historical track record has been very unsustainable.
How Can You Reduce Your Environmental Impact and Offset Your Personal Carbon Footprint
There are a few things you can do to make your pineapple consumption more ethical and sustainable, while still enjoying them. You can also consider offsetting your personal and pineapple-related carbon emissions, which work to remove carbon emissions elsewhere that are then attributed to you. Here, we will walk you through how to accomplish both of these things.
How Can You Shop for Pineapples More Ethically & Sustainably
In this section, we give you a short list of ways you can consume pineapples in a more sustainable way. This list is designed to target the most unsustainable parts of pineapples’ life-cycle:
- Buy ethically-sourced pineapples: The widespread ethical concerns in the pineapple industry, such as child labor and low wages means that buying ethically-sourced pineapples is key. You can look for certain labels that indicate they are fair trade or do some research into farms that prioritize ethical treatment of workers.
- Buy organic pineapples: Pesticide usage is one of the most unsustainable aspects of the pineapple growing process. Organic farms, however, generally avoid high amounts of chemical pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers and so they are good to support if you want to reduce the amount of pesticides involved in your food.
- Compost your pineapple waste: The amount of waste generated by pineapples, especially their packaging, is very unsustainable. You can combat this by making sure that you compost all your pineapple waste. If your city doesn’t have a municipal composting service then you can make one yourself.
Following some of these methods can really help you to make your pineapple-eating more sustainable. None of these will completely eradicate the negative impacts, since there are always effects that may be outside of your control. But some reduction is always better than nothing!
Which Organizations Can You Support to Help Promote Ethics & Sustainability
While pineapple production engages in some very unsustainable practices, there are also some organizations that help you change the parts of these processes that would otherwise be outside of your control. These organizations are working hard to prevent and reverse damage to the environment caused by industries like pineapple agriculture, towards a more sustainable future.
In the table below are some of the best charities that work in the areas where pineapple production are very unsustainable—and beyond:
Though it is helpful to boost the sustainability of your personal pineapple consumption, supporting these organizations takes your positive impact a step further. You will be reaching far beyond your own consumption impacts and helping to build a better world for everyone!
How Can You Offset Your Personal Carbon Footprint
The carbon footprint is a key part of how sustainable we live. And it is one of the ways we measure the effects of our human-induced global climate change. Yes, even from eating pineapples!
“Carbon footprint: the amount of greenhouse gasses and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (such as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a given period”Merriam Webster
Basically, it is the amount of carbon emitted by you as an individual or an organization providing you with goods and services – including pineapples:
- This includes GHG emissions from producing the products that we use and foods that we eat (e.g., power plants, factories or farms, and landfills)
- GHG emissions from fuel that we burn directly or indirectly (e.g., logistics and transportation, cooling or heating facilities),
- as well as the GHG emissions attributed to how we consume these products and foods.
Carbon offsets are reductions in carbon emissions that are used to compensate for carbon emissions occurring elsewhere – for example for the carbon emissions that are associated with pineapples. They are measured in tons of CO2 equivalents and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms on what is known as the global carbon offset market.
“Carbon Offset: a way for a company or person to reduce the level of carbon dioxide for which they are responsible by paying money to a company that works to reduce the total amount produced in the world, for example by planting trees”Oxford Dictionary
In terms of pineapples – and indeed all food types – there will always be a carbon footprint, because of the resources it takes to get your food from farms to the place where you’ll eventually eat them. And while there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint when shopping for pineapples, carbon offsets would be a way to reduce your CO2e emissions all the way down to net zero (or even to become climate positive).
However, when you purchase carbon offsets, it’s important that they actually make a difference in offsetting (aka reducing) total carbon emissions. To achieve that, the following are key criteria:
- Carbon offset projects have to be effective (different projects have different effectiveness rates)
- Carbon offset projects have to be additional
- Carbon offset projects have to be permanent
- The claims from carbon offset projects have to be verifiable
To find the best carbon offsets for you personally, check out our full guide on the best carbon offsets for individuals, where you’ll also learn more about how these carbon offset projects work, what their respective offsetting costs are, and what your best way would be to offset your own carbon emissions.
Pineapples may have a low carbon footprint, but when it comes to ethics and sustainability, they have a lot of issues. They have been connected to several issues with labor, including low wages and child labor, and engage in many unsustainable practices, such as rainforest destruction, pesticide usage, and plastic packaging. However, the good news is that you can consume pineapples in ways that reduce some of these consequences and support organizations that are fighting to improve the conditions of pineapple workers and unsustainable practices!
- Statistica: Global Pineapple Production by Leading Countries
- Healthline: Benefits of Pineapple
- Southern Kitchen: How Pineapple Became the Ultimate Symbol of Southern Hospitality
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: SAFA (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems) Guidelines
- Food Ethics Council: What is food ethics?
- The Fair Labor Association: Agriculture Standards
- MDPI Sustainability: Eating in Season—A Lever of Sustainability? An Interview Study on the Social Perception of Seasonal Consumption
- MDPI Foods: The Role of Local Seasonal Foods in Enhancing Sustainable Food Consumption: A Systematic Literature Review
- UN Environment Programme: Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment: Towards an Integrated Approach
- Our World in Data: The environmental impacts of food and agriculture
- Our World in Data: Global land use for food production
- World Health Organization: Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks
- ScienceDirect (Biological Conservation): Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers
- EPA: The Sources and Solutions: Agriculture
- EPA: Reducing Food Waste and Packaging
- FoodPrint: The Environmental Impact of Food Packaging
- Fair Food: Living Wage and Income for Pineapple Pickers
- Numbeo: Cost of Living Philippines
- The Guardian: The Truth About Pineapple Production
- NCBI: Paraquat
- Healthline: Paraquat Poisoning
- DOL: Findings on the Worst Form of Child Labor
- Banana Link: Why Pineapples Matter
- EDIS: Pineapple Growing in the Floridian Home Landscape
- The Packer: Imports Supply All US Pineapple Consumption
- CHFUSA: Pineapple Production in Costa Rica
- Agriculture Review: Pineapple Farming Guide
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Strawberries
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Mangoes
- Bananalink: All About Pineapples
- Down to Earth: Pineapple Agroforestry
- Radio Mondoreal: Advance of Monoculture Plantations in Costa Rica
- EOS: Monoculture Farming
- Study Smarter: Monoculture
- Water Footprint: What is a Water Footprint?
- USDA: The Pineapple Industry in the United States
- Costa Rica: Weather
- The Guardian: The Truth About Pineapple Production
- Naads: Manure and Fertilizers in Pineapple Farming
- Science Direct: Towards Understanding the Impact of Pesticides on Freshwater
- USGS: Pesticides in Groundwater
- GOV.BC: Environmental Protection and Pesticides
- Mitsui: Reducing the Environmental Impact of Chemical Fertilizer
- EPA: Nitrogen Pollution
- Transport Information Service: Pineapples
- EPA: Reducing the Impact of Wasted Food
- GOV.BC: Waste Management
- Biological Diversity: The Plastic Production Problem
- TRVST: The Environmental Impact of Cardboard
- Also Known As: 12 Interesting Facts About Packaging Waste
- National Geographic: Plastic Pollution
- Science of the Total Environment: Microplastics contamination of groundwater
- UNEP: Plastic Planet
- One Green Planet: Problematic Pineapples
- Exploring Green: The Sour Side of Pineapple Production
- Our World in Data: Greenhouse Gas Emissions per 1,000 kilocalories
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Climate Change Terms
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Advance Ethics Worldwide
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Promote Sustainability
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Help Farmers
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight to Protect our Environment
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Reforestation
- Impactful Ninja: Best Wildlife Conservation Charities
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Protecting the Amazon Rainforest
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight for Clean Water
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Help Conserve Our Rivers
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities to Save Our Oceans
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Helping Farm Animals
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Climate Change
- Impactful Ninja: Best Carbon Offsets for Individuals
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight to Reduce Food Waste
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight to End Plastic Pollution
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Promote Recycling
- Impactful Ninja: Why Is a Carbon Footprint Bad for the Environment?
- Impactful Ninja: Best Carbon Offsets for Individuals