Sustainable is normal and what’s normal is sustainable
As a European company active in developing communities, Messem acknowledges its responsibility towards the well-being of employees, farmers and farmers’ employees, and its role in the development of local communities.
Messem collaborates closely with customers like Nestlé and Danone, with NGOs like Oxfam and Rainforest Alliance, and with several local organizations to further improve the social compliance, safety and well-being of everyone involved in harvesting and processing the strawberries.
Since 2017, Messem has redoubled its efforts to reduce plastic litter on the fields.
Recognized and supported efforts
Messem is honoured to be part of a three-year, multimillion-euro project sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (the German Partnership for International Collaboration, GIZ). The goal of this public-private partnership is to set up sustainable sourcing models in Morocco, Turkey and Madagascar.
Messem is deeply committed to engaged local entrepreneurship. Numerous projects and initiatives were implemented, which aimed to the situation near the factory in Larache. Messem is very proud of the significant financial and in-kind support it has received from customers like Danone, Nestlé and Erlenbacher, the GIZ and NGOs like Oxfam. Representatives of these partners form a dedicated team of professionals who help growers make changes.
Why is that so important to Messem? The answer is simple: Messem feels dependant on reliable strawberry growers and is convinced that this dependency will only grow. Non-sustainable growers will not be reliable partners in the future. In fact, they probably won’t be there at all.
A second reason, and probably the most important one, is just as simple: Messem believes that improvements should be initiated and supported by the people they benefit. What are Messem’s objectives? These, too, are quite simple: compliance with (social) legislation, care for the environment, safe working conditions for field workers and good farming practices that bring profits to the growers.
What did all of these initiatives achieve? Quite a bit (but never enough):
– 39 training sessions and 129 follow-up visits on social legislation training
– 103 farm workers received first aid training and a first aid kit
– 125 farm workers received pesticide safety training
– 295 farm workers received a medical examination
– the number of female field workers covered by the national social security programs multiplied tenfold
– toilets, hand wash facilities, canteen rooms, hygienic standards are common practice now
– 5 model farms were set up to research and educate farmers on how to improve their economic situation
– 80 tonnes of black plastic was collected and used as a source of energy for a cement factory
(results end 2018)