Sustainable Peruvian companies at Hi Europe in Amsterdam!

20141204_143134

The 4th of December 2014 I visited Hi Europe in Amsterdam, the world’s leading health and natural food ingredients event. It is actually a business platform where companies from all over the world exhibit their ingredients and solutions for food and drink formulation, dietary supplements, nutraceuticals and personal care products. This day I came with a special task: to see the products of the four Peruvian companies present at this forum and to interview their representatives. I asked them not only about their innovative and natural products but also about their contribution to corporate social and environmental responsibility within the chain.

(For the reader, it must be clear that the information below is derived from interviews with the representatives of the companies itself, and not through thorough solid investigation with third parties. Therefore, I cannot ensure full truth)

The first Peruvian company I visited was Molinos Asociados SAC. This enterprise dedicates itself to creating added value to the fruit of the Tara tree of the Peruvian Andes, which has many traditional applications. The company is lead by the president and CEO Herbert Telge and his two sons.

20141204_161146

Tara seeds can be used for dying fabrics, tanning leather or making medicines. For example, the skin of Tara seeds are ground into a powder from which tannic acid is extracted, which in turn can be used, among others, to make leather supple.

The Tara tree has become part of an impressive boom for farmers in Peru. In Europe the Tara products are appreciated, not only because it is a natural product, but also because it has a positive social impact in the value chain as the production of Tara takes place in the poor rural zones of the Andes. It also has a positive environmental impact as the production of Tara contributes indirectly to the mitigation of climate change. The Tara trees namely grow in dry zones and their growth contributes to moisture retention and the scarcity of water is managed with modern irrigation.

You can watch my interview with Herbert Telge here below.

Next to the exhibition of the Tara products of Molinos Asociados SAC, Patricia Aguilar, commercial director of Agroindustrias Amazonicas , was presenting a very well known Peruvian product, namely the Inca Inchi Oil, which is already being sold in several big Peruvian supermarkets. This oil is the richest natural source of essential fatty acids Omega 6 (36%) and Omega 3 (48%), and is of great importance for cholesterol balance, blood circulation and prevention of cardiovascular attacks and infarcts.

20141204_162146

Agroindustrias Amazonicas started with the development of the organic cultivation of Inca Inchi, a plant from the Amazon, around 2001. The Inca Inchi Oil is manually produced by small farmers there. This oil, derived from the Inca Inchi plant, is a high quality product (adequate technologies are used in the industrial process to preserve the quality of the oil and its proteins), and has both a good impact on the ecology of the Amazon as well as contributes to better living conditions of the small farmers. Furthermore, Inca Inchi Oil benefits the nutrition and health of people worldwide. As you can see in the picture above, the Inca Inchi Oil complies with the requirements of several certifications, such as the European and US organic label.

Watch my interview with Patricia Aguilar at Hi Europe in Amsterdam here below.

The third Peruvian company I visited at Hi Europe, was MG NATURA Peru SACI had the honour to speak with Genaro Valdivia, administrative manager.

20141204_15022320141204_150008

The company was founded in 1999, dedicating itself to Peruvian natural products like Camu Camu, Amaranth, Cat’s Claw, Maca, Quinoa, Sacha Inchi, Yacon and many more. It considers itself as a social and environmental responsible enterprise, working only with genuine products from a known source, and making alliances with a select group of producers and companies. Some of their products are organic, fair trade or kosher certified.

Watch my interview with Genaro Valdivia at Hi Europe in Amsterdam, here below.

At the end of the day I got to interview Marta Madueño D’Urso, who is export and sales manager at Nunatura, which is a trademark application of the company Peruvian Heritage SAC. Nunatura sells superfoods, superdrinks and dietary supplements all based on natural ingredients, such as Maca powder, Acai powder, Sacha Inchi powder, and so on. In their mission they try to operate in a way that is in harmony with the needs of all the participants in the supply chain and they follow bio-trade and fair trade principles.

20141204_15473720141204_151827

The most innovative product presented by Peruvian Heritage SAC was definitely the Shaman Energy Drink. A drink that gives long lasting energy throughout the day, based on natural ingredients and it really has a good taste! (verified by myself). This natural energy drink was created as an alternative to the traditional energy drink with caffeine, chemicals and sugar, which gives only a short energy boost. So the founders found four natural ingredients for the Shaman Energy drink, namely coca leaves and maca, from pre-Incan times, and Ginseng and Gingko Biloba, from the Far East.

20141204_151814

It was so nice to see for me how Peruvian companies are using their natural wealth, coming from the rich biodiversity of Peru, as a tool to not only gain profits, and create healthy products, but also living up to international standards of quality and sustainability, and contributing as far as possible to better livelihoods of small farmers and the preservation of nature.

The Plan Vivo Seminar on “Insetting” at IIED

20141110_115503
Besides the international panel of climate change experts of the United Nations, US president Barack Obama recently confirmed the pressing threat of Climate Change. Droughts, melting ice, global warming, we as human species can no longer deny it is real and have to make changes in our lifestyles and ways of production to reduce greenhouse emissions. In december 2014 the COP20 (UN Climate Change Conference) will take place in Lima, Peru, a country which is quite vulnerable to climate change and where climate change adaptation programs have already been introduced in agriculture.

At this background, and as half Peruvian CSR consultant, I was excited to be able to attend the Plan Vivo Seminar on “Insetting within your value chain” at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London. A quick introduction on Plan Vivo: it is the international standard for agroforestry and reforestation (carbon) projects, where local communities and smallholder farmers are involved. In the projects not only carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, but also eco system benefits are provided against affordable prices for the farmers; Plan Vivo thus contributes to climate change mitigation.

During the Seminar, apart from discussing the concept of Insetting, several organizations and/or companies like Ecometrica, Climate Futures, Source Climate Change Coffee, Costain Group, Pur Projet, CIAT and Catholic Relief Services demonstrated their concrete experiences with Insetting. Insetting is the partnership or investment in an activity that reduces an emission (like reforestation) within the sphere of interest of the company. It is actually about the interconnectiveness between the eco-system and the business.

During the Seminar Plan Vivo also launched its user’s guide on Insetting. One attendee mentioned that although the manual is obviously very useful, many concepts belonging to the carbon economy, like Insetting and Offsetting, among others, are really for specialists, and that there should also be a manual for “idiots”.

Finally, a panel of experts discussed the opportunities and challenges of Insetting. Insetting provides an opportunity for the creation of better markets and better buyers as it entails the adaptation of values and includes the reduction of emissions, among others. The challenge is for each link in the value chain to collaborate in innovation and recognize its connection with the eco-system. Another challenge is to explain Insetting in simple terms.

An important conclusion mentioned at the Seminar is that with Insetting you have to prove that you can make a business out of it. For example “Source Climate Change Coffee” will not sell if it does not have great taste and quality. You have also got to get your marketing and communication right for buyers to understand your product or project. Furthermore, Insetting is not like a classic donor or aid relationship, which fails to integrate in business. It is actually affecting business decisions.

Finally, there was wide agreement that Insetting projects do not belong in a separate CSR departement of a company. Good to know that several companies are already applying Insetting without even knowing the concept.