EXPLORING THE SOCIAL JOURNEY AHEAD FOR CUNA DE PLATERO WITH JUAN BAÑEZ
In case you missed part one of this series introducing Juan Bañez from Cuna de Platero, we explored the history of the Cuna cooperative, Juan’s role as its general director and the sustainability topics that are high on Cuna’s agenda today.
In this blog, we’re diving a little deeper into the lives of the cooperative’s farmers, the social aspect of Cuna’s sustainability initiatives, and what’s in store for Cuna de Platero over the next five years. Let’s continue where we left off…
1. You mentioned you have several sustainability initiatives ongoing. How much influence do the farmers have on these and how is awareness generated across all levels of seniority?
We take social responsibility very seriously and we follow the Spanish ethical, labour and social responsibility plan (PRELSI) vigilantly. We agree collaboratively on which challenges to address next and how we can improve the way we operate so it works as a knowledge sharing activity.
At Cuna de Platero we provide farming opportunities for people in Morocco, Romania, Poland, Honduras and Ecuador, and this is supported by training plans for their professional development. Every year we develop a complete training programme aimed at our partners, management and technical teams. In 2021, for example, we completed an extensive session where health and safety was prioritised, and in January we spent two days with the cooperative’s head farmers to run through its progress. With this training in place, we are aiming to work towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
As dedicated farmers, we are all invested in becoming more sustainable and to do so, it’s crucial that we have full transparency with each other. Everyone is already highly invested in our initiatives and plans for the future, but as our customers and partners often visit the farms, we have even more motivation to be sustainable and deliver safe, high-quality produce.
2. How is your cooperative meeting key sustainability targets?
We haven’t officially announced this yet – but I’m proud to reveal that we are the first agro-food business in Huelva to be certified in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals! The certification guidelines we worked towards as part of this process enabled us to not only evaluate areas that needed more consideration, such as water and packaging, but also highlighted areas where we are thriving which is great to see. These guidelines are a great way for us to check and manage our progress and we use them as a framework for everything we do.
Since we began our participation in PRELSI, we have provided training to all of our farming partners, as well as the middle managers who work on the farms. We follow the action protocol to facilitate the integration of the people we hire in our environment and culture. Through PRELSI, we are making a consultant available to these people, who advises them and provides the information they need so that they can adapt to work and also to day-to-day farming life. In addition, this plan was born with the aim of preventing possible conflicts, so the consultants also act as mediators in the event of any labour conflict.
3. What are your sustainability goals for the next five years?
We will continue to follow the goals set in place by the UN, as well as strengthening other measures such as water and packaging initiatives. Another continued focus for us is around a circular economy, whereby we will aim to reduce our waste, increase our recyclability and generally improve our sustainability credentials across the whole cooperative to better serve customers and consumers.
We’re already increasing the digitisation of all processes to prevent incidents and improve the work environment. New, more technical jobs have emerged from this and we are offering to relocate our team and also hire people with new profiles. These are some of the many initiatives we are doing to improve our cooperative and we are truly dedicated to continuing this journey!
It’s been inspiring talking to Juan Bañez in this series and SVZ is excited for all that’s in store for Cuna de Platero! Watch this space as we continue to collaborate with our partners and identify new and improved ways of growing better together for a greener planet.