Corpocampo joins Business Call to Action with a commitment to lift hundreds of Colombian families out of poverty
Bogota, Colombia, 4 October 2017 – Natural food company Corpocampo has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) by pledging to integrate 600 new families into its açaí palm value chain by 2020, providing smallholder suppliers and local plant employees from Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities with sustainable livelihoods through the production of its wild-harvested natural products.
Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than USD 8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Colombian Pacific areas where Corpocampo operates have been one of the focal points of the country's internal conflict, with high rates of poverty and crop growing for illicit use. After identifying the need to generate production alternatives, Corpocampo worked with recipients of crop substitution through alternative development programs, linking the farmers to a legal and stable value chain, guaranteeing the purchase of produce at a fair price. In some areas of the country, such as in Guapi (municipality of Cauca), this is the only source of employment. Operation in these territories can be made difficult by insecurity, and the lack of access roads, which increases the costs of logistics.
Currently the company sells to retail stores in Colombia and abroad. Around 80 percent of sales goes to the communities. Today, Corpocampo generates more than 180 direct jobs for female heads of households and benefits about 1,200 families through the sustainable use of the palm of naidí/acai. By working with these communities on the sustainable extraction of native trees for its wild-harvested food products, the company ensures a long-term supply of quality products as well as stable, livable incomes for local extractors and processors.
The company’s model tackles the challenges of access and transport costs by keeping the entire value chain close to home. This includes opening up a new market for açaí palm products within Colombia: despite high demand in the international market, local demand for palm hearts and açaí berries is weak. In response, Corpocampo designed a range of products based on the trees’ fruit to satisfy the market needs.
According to Corpocampo CEO Edgar Montenegro Amaya, “The communities we work with are the mainstay of our business, since it is thanks to them and their lands that we can continue our production. Acknowledging this, our business model considers local people throughout all the links in the production chain, from training farmers in planting to harvesting the trees, processing and ultimately consumption of these healthy foods.”
In addition to employing local people in harvesting, selecting, washing, pulping and processing raw produce for sale as sorbet, pulp, powder, jam and other products, Corpocampo provides farmers with technical assistance in the proper care and maintenance of the trees. It also commits to buying 100 percent of farmers’ harvests at a long-term fair price and supplying transport logistics – guaranteeing them decent revenues throughout the entire year. The crops are managed in an organic way, promoting agroforestry systems and the conservation of native species. They have national and international quality certifications, such as USDA Organic and Bio for the USA and European Union markets respectively. Also, they are Ecocert certified, ensuring an environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
“Corpocampo’s inclusive business model shows how benefitting for rural communities also helps a company’s bottom line”, explained Paula Pelaez, BCtA’s programme manager. “By increasing the lands under production, this company is guaranteeing stable incomes for vulnerable people deeply affected by conflict, cementing peace and stability while optimizing its own competitiveness in the market.”
In order to expand farmers’ incomes from sustainable açaí palm production, the company has pledged to assist its smallholder suppliers in preparing an additional 200 hectares of land belonging to a local farming collective for palm heart of palm and açaí berry extraction. In the process of making these lands more productive, açaí palm harvesting is becoming more sustainable. The company estimates it will increase farmers’ incomes by 5 percent or more in the next three years.
For further information:
BCtA: Aimee Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
Corpocampo: Pilar Prieto at email@example.com
BctA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.
About Corpocampo: Founded in 2003, Corpocampo has production plants in the Colombian Pacific jungles, on the banks of the Guapi River and in the cities of Guapi Cauca and Tumaco Nariño. In association with the Afro-Colombian communities and indigenous people of the region, the company has been fostering the continual production of the wild palm açaí palm (Euterpe Oleracea), from which heart of palm and the acai berries are extracted through a system that guarantees the sustainability of the resource. While exporting its products to France, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands and Mexico, Corpocampo is expanding its domestic market as well. For more information about Corpocampo and its range of products, visit www.corpocampo.com