The plant extract specialist’s international sourcing activities have led to strong links with local populations – and given it an insight into the problems they face on a day-to-day basis.
The company, which saw sales of €79.6m in 2007, announced today that it has allocated €150,000 for its five-year action plan of the Naturex Foundation. The projects to which this funding will be channels are outside any economic interest.
The foundation is described as “an independent entity with its own resources, which supports particular education, medicine, and basic necessities in communities from which Naturex derived plant materials”.
Antoine Dauby, secretary of the Naturex Foundation, told FoodNavigator.com that the foundation will partner with organisations that work on the ground to improve the quality of life of local people. However he stressed that in order to be eligible, the organisations must be community oriented and financially transparent.
In addition, Naturex employees have the chance to get involved by gathering information on communities’ needs and organisations active in the area, selecting the projects, and checking on progress.
The formation of the foundation has been well received internally, Dauby said, and is in keeping with clients’ and end consumers’ expectations.
“Our reputation is based on what we do, not on what we say.”
It is also an indication that Naturex expects to keep working in these areas long into the future.
Although Naturex has been involved in sustainability initiatives in the past, Jacques Dikansky, president of both the company and the foundation, said this new initiative takes it to a higher level.
So far, the foundation has is committed to two projects – one in Morocco and one in Peru – but the scope of the action plan is not limited to these countries. Indeed, it is likely to get involved in a project in Asia in the future.
For now, however, the Morocco project is in partnership with AgriSud, and aims to promote social integration for young disabled people in the countryside of the Ouarzazate and Zagora regions by setting up farms.
In Peru it is working with Ninacaca-based Kalusayas Reach Out. It will contribute to the upgrading of dental facilities in the remote community, refurbishing the school, and equipping the town with an internet centre.
Parallel moves in the industry
Naturex is not alone in striving to give back to the communities with which it works around the world.
Following the devastating earthquake in China earlier this year, other ingredients firms have stepped forward to help rebuild the community.
For instance German flavour firm Symrise donated €50,000 to fund the construction of a temporary school in Sichuan, at the heart of China’s earthquake zone, in cooperation with the NGO, the China Youth and Development Fund (CYDF).
“China is highly strategically important for us as it rapidly growing to become the biggest sub-region in the Asia Pacific area,” said Declan MacFadden, regional president of Symrise’s flavour and nutrition division.
“The country has been increasingly good to use as a business and we believe in giving something back. Helping in this way is the very least we can do.”
And Cargill has teamed up with Beijing Normal University to work on education policy research and provide psychotherapy aid for children in Sichuan Province. It has offered 3m Chinese RMB (€281,000) for the programme, as well as donating 3.1m RMB to the Red Cross in China.