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Smart Alliance - Taylor, J. Gary; Scharlin, Patricia J. - Yale University Press

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Yale Agrarian Studies Series


Smart Alliance

How a Global Corporation and Environmental Activists Transformed a Tarnished Brand

  • J. Gary Taylor and Patricia J. Scharlin
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for more information go to the authors website at http://www.smartalliance-online.com/smart.php

Large and wealthy global companies too often fail to acknowledge environmental responsibility or workers’ rights. This book tells the dramatic story of one company—Chiquita Brands International—that decided to change the negative paradigm. Formerly the notorious United Fruit Company, a paternalistic organization that gave the name “Banana Republic” to tropical countries in Central America, Chiquita defied all expectations in the mid-1990s by forming an innovative pact with the Rainforest Alliance that transformed not only the corporation itself but also an important segment of the banana industry.

Gary Taylor and Patricia Scharlin reveal the inside story of how corporate executives, banana workers, local leaders, and conservation advocates learned to work together and trust one another. Over the objections of skeptical critics, Chiquita and the Rainforest Alliance established a Better Banana “seal of approval” to certify genuine efforts to improve soil and water quality, ensure rainforest conservation, and enhance worker health and safety. This chronicle of their collaboration, told objectively and with extensive documentation, presents a promising new model of cooperative behavior--a model that shows how multinational companies can become motivated to solve critical global problems.

J. Gary Taylor is president and Patricia J. Scharlin is vice president of The Environment Group, New York City.

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