“Hass Sostenible” (Sustainable Hass) is the Association´s commitment for promoting the sustainability among the different businesses involved in the Hass avocado production, packaging and marketing chain.
To obtain this certification, the interested growers and exporters members will voluntarily undergo an evaluation on their organizational performance from the sustainability point of view.
Hass avocado is one of the main agricultural export products of the country. According to DANE (the National Statistics Administrative Department) figures, between January and September 2020, exports of this fruit reached 95 million dollars, representing an increase of 34% compared to the same period of the immediately previous year and thus exceeding all exports in 2019.
Its growing importance in the local and international markets, as well as its relevance for the economy of the families that intervene in each one of the stages of the value chain, have encouraged the Hass Avocado Growers and Exporters Association of Colombia (Corpohass) to be aware of the positive impact that should be generated in the communities and the environment, considering international standards such as GLOBALG.A.P. and RainForest Alliance, among others.
These improvements in complying with national and international parameters encouraged the Association to present a pilot plan for the creation of its own seal to promote sustainability among the different entrepreneurs involved in the Hass avocado production, packaging and marketing chain. Thus, the Hass avocado guild is one of the first ones to voluntarily address a sustainability strategy.
From this desire was born “Hass Sostenible” (Sustainable Hass), the sustainability seal that Corpohass will grant by the hand of the Colombian company Portafolio Verde, a top consulting firm for sustainable development. To obtain the seal, interested companies may voluntarily submit to an evaluation of their sustainability organizational management. This evaluation process will make possible to identify the set of improvement measures aimed at strengthening its management systems on environmental, economic and social issues, framed in the relationship with its stakeholders.
The aspects to be evaluated are divided into three groups that respond to management in economic & strategic, environmental and social sustainability. Some of these aspects evaluated are organizational governance strategy, customer and supplier management, natural resources management, environmental culture, safety and health at work, talent management, among others. Organizations that obtain scores higher than 70% compliance in the evaluation may be recommended to obtain the Hass Sustainable Superior or Hass Sustainable Premium seal, once the pilot plan is completed and the seal is officially launched.
For Jorge Enrique Restrepo, Executive Director of Corpohass, “the creation of a seal with a sustainable approach is a bet to improve the competitiveness of the Hass avocado sector. The implementation of Sustainable Hass will allow the sector to continue creating and sharing value with the stakeholders throughout the chain. We believe it is important to start setting a reference in sustainable practices that continue to position this agricultural product, even more so when our higher purpose is precisely to lead the sustainability of the Colombian Hass avocado agribusiness”.
The 17 companies that are currently participating in the pilot plan are located in the departments of Risaralda, Caldas, Quindío, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca and Tolima; ten of them are growers and the other seven are exporters / packing houses. The seal will be awarded officially once the adjustments generated from the stage of the pilotage are done. The distinction will last for one year, which will encourage companies to be in constant update and innovation to respond in a sustainable way and responsible to the changing demands of the market.
Jorge Enrique Bedoya, executive president of the Sociedad de Agricultores de Colombia (SAC), described the creation of this seal as “a sign of the commitment of Corpohass and its members to Sustainability in all dimensions of the production and marketing process, and as a bet to strengthen the differentiation of the Colombian Hass avocado in the international markets. To undertake a permanent evaluation in the field of Sustainability, definitely strengthens the capacity of self-management of the companies, raises their standards and contributes to the holistic development of their activity in the relationship with the communities and natural resources”.
The piloting stage will be carried out until the end of this year, from this exercise a recommendation will emerge so that organizations classified at a high level can obtain the seal once it is launched. Meanwhile, Corpohass will continue to be committed to different sustainability efforts, such as the Environmental Agenda recently signed with the Risaralda Regional Autonomous Corporation (CARDER), the agreement of wills for environmental sustainability signed with the Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Rivers Negro and Nare (Cornare) and the videoconferences on sustainability issues that have been carried out biweekly with leaders in this field in different matters of interest for the Hass Avocado sector.