“The most important thing is to really believe in the value and the contribution we can makefor the conservation of water resources, and for society in general.”
We speak to Sandra Lima, Corporate Social Responsibility Senior Manager at Dole Tropical Products, based in Ecuador, about her role and commitment to water stewardship.
How would you describe your role?
In my role at Dole Tropical Products, I design and direct the corporate social responsibility strategy, based on a comprehensive sustainability system at the regional level to cultivate and maintain quality relationships with the company’s stakeholders.
I also look for new opportunities for strategic alliances and support the advancement of social responsibility programs in the operating divisions.
What drew you to working in water in particular?
I’ve been working at Dole for more than 25 years, as part of our management system. We have environmental practices focused on efficient use of natural resources. I wanted to continue with this commitment and seek to strengthen water management at Dole with a comprehensive and sustainable approach.
What does a day in your job look like?
Each workday represents the opportunity to seek, build and contribute to the sustainable management of Dole Tropical Products and our commitment and leadership in continuing to operate responsibly in all the countries in which we are present. Partnerships and collaborative work are essential in this process.
What does Water Stewardship mean to you?
The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard represented an opportunity to have a more comprehensive vision and approach. With AWS yousee beyond the site (farm) to understand our shared water challenges with other stakeholders in the catchment, and search for joint solutions.
What stage would you say you are at in your Water Stewardship journey?
The AWS Standard is a sustainability water management system promoting continual improvement, and working with the stakeholders on the identified water-related challenges in the catchment.
We are at the early stages of our journey with AWS. We have started our journey by sharing our experience in sustainable water management with the banana industry andwe are inviting others to join.
How have you found working with The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)/ AWS Standard?
Our experience has been as an enriching challenge, since the first stage of searching for external consultants and identifying the importance of the development of local capacities.
The planning, interpretation, implementation, communication of our progress in the process is all important, but the most important thing is to really believe in the value and contribution that we can make for the conservation of water resources and society in general.
What achievement are you most proud of when it comes to water?
We are honored to be part of a group that leads a different and challenging proposal. At Dole Tropical Products, we are really committed to achieve tangible results that generate a positive impact on sustainable water management.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day, for me, is a day of commemoration to honor women and men who, in different historical events, have contributed to transform systems, allowing us today and in the future, to have equal rights, greater participation, empowerment and multiple leadership spaces in society.
IWD 2021 asks: “How will you help forge a gender equal world?” In the context of your work on water stewardship, are there any other female leaders in this space who you think others should know about?
In Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Germany, in our value chain in the banana industry, there are several women who are committed, and actively contributing to, sustainable water management.
This leadership and management is one of our keys factors to success in this experience with the incorporation of AWS into our system.