Initiative for vanilla farmers makes final round of GreenTec Awards

Project promotes better living conditions and more sustainable farming methods for 50,000 people from grower communities in Madagascar

The project aims to create more sustainable incomes for people in Madagascar

The “Vanilla – fair and sustainable” initiative is supporting vanilla farmers in Madagascar with education, fair prices and sustainable farming methods.

Its purpose is to eliminate social and economic constraints that keep vanilla farmers trapped in a cycle of poverty and to thereby ensure better living conditions for 50,000 people in the grower communities of the SAVA region.

The development partnership between Symrise, Unilever, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the “Save the Children” aid organisation has now been nominated for Europe’s biggest environmental prize, the GreenTec Award, in the Sustainable Development category.

Ten environmentally friendly projects that seek to demonstrate that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand competed for the nomination in the area of “Sustainable Development”.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Micus is responsible for sustainability communication at Symrise, global supplier of fragrances, flavourings, cosmetic active ingredients, raw materials and functional ingredients.

“The nomination is an important recognition of our commitment to greater sustainability in our supply chain,” he said. “This strengthens our conviction that we have taken the right path with our support of vanilla farmers.”

Three finalists were selected from these ten projects by a public online vote and a jury comprising 60 experts. It remains to be seen who will take home the prestigious award – the winner will be announced in May.

“The GreenTec Awards are about more than winning,” said Micas. “They shift attention to numerous ideas and projects that use innovations and modern technologies to successfully combine ethics, environmental protection and profitability.

“Competition encourages imitation. We want to motivate other companies to likewise implement sustainable processes.”

Future-oriented vanilla farming

The “Vanilla – fair and sustainable” initiative directly supports farmers and communities in the SAVA region in the northeast of Madagascar. It is one of the most important vanilla-producing regions in the world.

The initiative aims to improve the living conditions of the people there, to create more, integrative communities and to provide greater opportunities for the farmers’ children.

The programme is to be rolled out in over 70 villages and to help 50,000 people in about 10,000 households. An estimated 70% of the people in these communities live below the poverty line, surviving on irregular incomes.

To change this, the programme provides ongoing support to the farmers by improving their growing methods and economic skills as well as by providing better access to fair financial services in order to secure a more stable income.

Community programmes in the areas of health, hygiene and child protection serve to improve the lives of the children in the region. The programme involves numerous stakeholders and works with other NGOs on the ground.

So far, more than 3,000 farmers from 36 villages have taken part in training on sustainable growing methods. Three agricultural schools have been established where 170 young adults have already completed their training.

Additionally, 218 teachers from 35 primary schools gained qualifications in environmental topics. The development partnership is being run as part of the develoPPP.de-Programm of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

GreenTec Awards

The GreenTec Awards will be presented for the tenth time in May 2017, with the winners in 14 categories, as part of a gala dinner in Berlin.

The awards are considered the biggest environmental awards in Europe. Their goal is to promote ecological commitment and green technologies, by discovering technical innovations that are environmentally friendly and demonstrate that sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive.

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