1. Agroamerica’s contribution to a Green
Economy in the context of poverty
eradication and sustainable development
Our contribution to global processes in the private sector
2. What is a Green Economy?
It means sustainability over the long term.
• In the October, 2010 issue of The Harvard Business Review, Peter
Senge ‐founder of the Society for Organizational Learning and a
faculty member at MIT Sloan School of Management said:
Companies that have survived for more than 200 years have a
commonality in understanding of themselves as a human community
first and a money making machine second. This is what makes them
• A Green Economy is one that results in improved human well-being
and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks
and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy
can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient, and
socially inclusive (UNEP, 2010).
3. To produce more with less…
A critical issue at hand
• Accelerating population growth and climate change is causing an increasing
scarcity of finite natural resources.
• Providing nourishment and food security for a growing world population,
expected to reach 9 billion in 2050, is a challenge for governments and global
• Readily available arable land is also becoming scarce with an expected ¼ of an acre
of cropland per person in 2050 versus the ½ acre we use today2.
• Freshwater reserves are drying out, and the use of fresh water across the globe is
exceeding the natural hydrological rate of recharge3.
The question thus becomes: “How do we produce more and increase
productivity by optimizing the use of available resources and create a
sustainable future for generations to come?”
1. FAO, 2010.
2. Whitty, Julia (May/June, 2010). The last taboo, Mother Jones.
3. WWAP, 2003; Johansson et.al, 2002; UNEP, 2010.
4. Preserving natural resources: Water efficiency,
carbon capture, clean energy, and recycling
• Precision agriculture and water efficiency: We invested in
the latest technology for precision agriculture for over
11,000 hectares of our plantations, thus reducing water
usage by 20% and irrigation costs by 20% while maintaining
• Carbon capture & clean energy: We capture over 30,000
TM/year of CO2 in a project registered with the United
Nation´s Clean Development Mechanism and use biogas
generators to produce 5MW/hr of clean energy for sale to
Our goal is to become carbon neutral in our banana
operations, and become net carbon sequesters in our palm
• Recycling: We’ve implemented the use of environmentally
friendly materials for the protection of bananas which can be
re-used up to 3 times versus plastic bags, which can only be
used once. We have reduced the costs/box by 7% and
plastic bag usage by 66%.
5. Commitment to source sustainable
• Initiatives such as precision agriculture, carbon capture, clean energy, and recycling
give us a competitive advantage over other players.
• Multinationals such as Unilever, Walmart, Procter & Gamble, and other consumer
product companies have taken the initiative to source only sustainable palm oil
products; for this, we applaud them.
• Following these initiatives, in 2010, Agroamerica became the first palm oil company in
the world to become Rainforest Alliance certified, which included the reforestation of
450 hectares with native species.
• From a producer´s point of view, there is a substantial investment
associated with innovative technologies and sustainable certifications, but
unfortunately, the market doesn´t recognize this.
• There is a miscommunication between the client´s CSR policy and the
supply chain sourcing…
Incentives which recognize the efforts of sustainable companies promote
wider application of sustainability practices within the supply chain.
6. Businesses, governments, international agencies,
and stakeholders need to work together.
Businesses must prioritize community
development and sustainability in their business
strategies in order to be competitive world-wide.
Government participation in developing countries
is crucial in promoting sustainability practices and
legislating in favor of sustainable market
International agencies such as the UN, through
institutions like UNEP, must promote initiatives by
companies as well as NGO´s to expand
These International agencies must work as liaisons
between stakeholders, companies, and
governments to achieve results, instead of finger-
pointing. The latter, doesn´t solve the issues at
7. What do we expect from institutions? (UN,
international, and civil society organizations)
Companies that are truly committed to society and do more than just the minimum
required by law, the marketplace, and the consumer do not expect to be treated the
same way as those companies that do not contribute to the creation of sustainable
We expect the market to recognize the minimum price that must be paid for a product
that generates decent jobs for those involved.
Agroamérica has become the first company nationwide to sign up as a Living Wage
Employer to promote the well-being of the families and the collaborators of our banana
and palm oil plantations.
We hold certifications with global standards that improve the supply chain:
Rainforest Alliance Ethical Standards
Global Gap Business Alliance for Secure Commerce
8. We are becoming more creative and innovative because of
the need to produce MORE while using LESS.
The greatest benefits within a supply
chain are derived by extending one´s
focus as far as possible upstream
toward the raw materials, downstream
toward the consumer, and then back
again as the product and its wastes are
9. CSR projects work toward sustainability and generate
• Private preschool and grade school for the
children of our collaborators. 5,202 people
from two communities benefit from the
• Creation of constructive dialogue between
workers and farm management with BSR
and Centrarse. Achieved a corresponding
reduction of 20% in work stoppages, an
increase in productivity, and a mutually
agreed-upon goal of increasing productivity
by more than 15%.
• The creation of a community and human
development center that will provide
opportunities for the integrated
development of individuals and families from
poor communities located in the Southwest
of Guatemala, with the purpose of improving
quality of life and measure HDI. More than
30,000 people will benefit.
10. Conclusions and Recommendations
• The scarcity of natural resources creates a challenge for businesses to design new
and innovative ways to increase production while minimizing environmental
impact, and at the same time, improve supply chain sustainability.
• Multinational companies must encourage sourcing/procurement personnel to
provide incentives and fair prices for sustainably produced products.
• Governments, private businesses, and civil society organizations must work
together in order to provide the market with greener products and expedite their
• Institutions and civil society organizations must understand the importance of
private companies’ impact on developing regions; they can provide their
employees and surrounding communities with better living and working
• Governments, stakeholders, and private businesses need to stop finger-pointing
and, instead, work together towards solutions that create green economies.
• Companies must develop a sense of human community and develop sustainability
practices in order to be successful in the long run.