Responsible investing is something that is strongly woven into our founding partners DNA. At Stevia 1931 we therefore look beyond financial returns and operate with what they call a triple bottom line (TBL). No, this is not a shady accounting tool, but a means of measuring our results financially, as well as socially and ecologically/environmentally.
In that light Stevia 1931 has implemented an (I)CSR (International Corporate Social Responsibility) strategy that strictly abides by the (I)CSR guidelines as set by organisations such as the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the IFC (International Finance Corporation) performance standards. The guidelines provide us with the tools to deal with an array of issues, such as supply chain responsibility, human rights, child labour and the environment. We further make use of the ISO 26000 framework, which is designed to act as an international standard towards corporate social responsibility. All this helps us put our intentions into realization.
By working according to OECD guidelines and providing insight/transparency thereof, Stevia 1931 ensures that fairness and justice prevails. We hope that by implementing this policy, we retain and further build upon the trust and faith that we receive from our stakeholders, such as our customers, financiers, shareholders, employees and society as a whole. reality. The ISO 26000 definition of (I)CSR is: ”Maximise your contribution to humanity, environment and economy and take into account the needs of our current and future generations.” This is exactly our goal. You can review our detailed (I)CSR strategy or refer to our summarized outline below.
- Health benefits. In the US over 80% of supermarket products contain added sugar. Substituting refined sugar and artificial sweeteners with stevia will help to curb the global, sugar related, health epidemic, responsible for diseases such as obesity and type II diabetes. By providing the food industry with a steady and premium quality supply of stevia, consumers all over the world will be able to make healthier choices without, in many cases, having to change their habits.
- Regional Impact. Upper West Ghana is relatively underdeveloped (UN 2014 IHDI ranking 138). Our farming activities in the region will promote significant economic development, financial empowerment, and workforce readiness for the area. An enormous transfer of knowledge to the region has already been set in-motion.
- 3000 full time jobs (1,2 FTE per ha) by 2022, when we are due to have 2500 ha of stevia plantation into exploitation.
- Transfer of knowledge and expertise. Already a vast knowledge and expertise transfer to the region has been set in motion. Farming knowledge is primarily sourced from The Netherlands, while stevia related knowledge is predominately sourced from Brazil.
- Technological transfer. We are making considerable investments in state of the art technology and equipment including biodegradable foil, intelligent water management systems and an advanced biological refining process.
- Refining on-site. By adding value to the product locally, the region will benefit to a greater extend.
- We have committed to ensuring Wa airport will be operational by year end (2015).
- Environmental Impact. Inherent to farming is the environmental impact. Our positive impact triumphs over the negative impact as we:
- No deforestation; The land on which we farm can best be described as Savannah land, and at most involves the clearing of grassland/shrub-land.
- Natural Soil enrichment. This is in our and natures interest. Through detailed analysis of the soil, we will enrich the soil, where necessary, through biological means. This will allow for greater field productivity and biodiversity.
- State of the art technology. This means we will use biodegradable plastic for our bedding, use drip irrigation in combination with state of the water management systems to reduce our water usage. We too work with a biological refinery processes where its waste product is used as cattle feed. By refining on site, our
- Sourcing Locally. Wherever possible we will source our needs locally.
- Refining onsite. This significantly reduces our exports, as the refined product is highly concentrated.
We use the IRIS metric tools to measure our impact. IRIS is a catalog of standardized/generally-accepted performance metrics that leading impact investors use to measure their social and environmental impact. This process is conduced by our holding company, Exelenti, who will carry out this process independently as a registered user with IRIS.
Exelenti is a partner of MVO Nederland and signatories of their ‘Be the Change’ manifest. In collaboration with MVO Nederland we are implementing our ISO 26000 standards.
We use the guidance provided by the OECD and IFC for our ISCR strategy. We will work alongside them in future to ensure we will live up to our ambitions and the market expectations.