By Pedro Cortez, Business Call to Action and Murat Birsin, Pinar
Even though Turkey is one of the top 10 milk producing countries in the world, small-scale milk production is disappearing rapidly due to mechanization.
The expense of feed and modern equipment for milk production hamper small-scale farmers’ chances of competing with the larger industrial players in the market. Milk production for small-scale farmers is also affected by animal health problems due to a lack of health services and appropriate hygiene conditions.
Believing that training on quality milk production processes can help small-scale farmers overcome these challenges and remain competitive, Turkish agribusiness company Pınar Dairy has been supporting small-scale milk producers since the company was founded in 1973. Through its project The Future of our Milk is in Safe Hands, Pinar trains farmers on animal health, animal feeding and hygiene/sanitation in cooperation with the Directorates of Provincial Agriculture and Forestry, Universities (Ankara University and Afyon Kocatepe University), Dairy Unions & Cooperatives. Since the initiative’s inception in 2014, Pinar has provided training to over 7000 dairy farmers in 13 different cities in Turkey, promoting public health, improving milk production quality and increasing small-scale farmers’ prosperity.
For example, the company will deliver a financial literacy training in October, in partnership with Habitat Association, aimed at helping farmers to manage their personal finances.
These trainings are at the core of Pinar’s social mission, and the company’s senior management believes that measuring their impact is a crucial part of the process. Impact measurement provides important information that enables them to adapt and improve these trainings to ensure they align with the greatest skill and knowledge needs of Turkey’s small-scale milk farmers as they evolve over time. For example, last year, after conducting a social impact analysis research to measure the impact of trainings, Pinar adjusted the training content to meet farmers’ needs.
As a member of Business Call to Action (BCtA), Pinar had the opportunity to sign up for BCtA’s Impact Champions programme, an initiative that helps companies understand, prove and improve their social and environmental impact. For Pinar, this presented an opportunity to build on the impact measurement they were already doing, while gaining a deeper understanding of the broader impact measurement and management approach. The programme also provided Pinar with an opportunity to collect more detailed data to support the company’s decision-making processes, while providing concrete results that support previous empirical field observations.
BCtA’s network – both at global and local levels – also gave Pinar the opportunity to learn from different approaches and company models that other members were using, while understanding their achievements from an inclusive business perspective. The Turkish company was able to get valuable insights on the business model of another BCtA member, Akashganga, an Indian dairy cooperative that provides technology solutions for farmers. Pinar also exchanged inputs with the biggest telecommunications provider in Turkey, Türk Telekom, and textile manufacture company KOTON, broadening its knowledge of inclusive businesses across different industries.
Pinar’s objectives for participating in the Impact Champions programme was to learn how to better use impact management to detect and overcome social challenges, while creating sustainable long-term solutions to these challenges through their business activities. While working with BCtA, Pinar’s social impact research process involved both qualitative and quantitative methods, such as ethnographic studies on farmers’ daily routines and in-depth interviews with different stakeholder groups, providing data that is measurable while still capturing farmers’ personal perceptions on their daily professional life.
Pınar also uses this data to measure the actual changes in farmers’ situations after participating in their trainings, which helps them to set realistic and meaningful targets in order to keep tailoring and improving their inclusive business model.
“We believe in concrete results based on research, so we conducted a social impact analysis of our programmes. The results of this research will be our guide to improve our activities and strengthen our observations in field. It is now easier for us to define more accurate targets for future plans,” explained Ümit Savcıgil, Director of Pınar Institute.
Through the Impact Champions programme, Pinar not only realized that impact management could provide a combination of measurable data and social insights, they also learnt how essential impact management was for the performance of an inclusive business, in that it not only allows organizations to quantify their social impact, but also attracts impact investors – an increasing trend of investors that are interested in allocating their funds into demonstrable models of social change.
Find out more about Pinar's BCtA commitment here.