AGROFAIR PRESENTS – THE MATERIALITY MATRIX
Being part of a chain means connecting to stakeholders. Cooperating successfully with stakeholders begins by listening carefully to their concerns, their thoughts and proposals. Our stakeholders have an important role in shaping the content of our sustainability efforts. The most important stakeholders for AgroFair are our customers; both retailers and ripeners; our producers and our shareholders. By keeping up a constant line of communication we try to remain on the same wavelength.
As a company, we have always been driven by strong social and ecological commitment. To us, that’s the most natural thing in the world. And although most of the people and companies we work with hold similar views, we cannot automatically assume that our priorities are equal as well. And that’s where the materiality matrix comes in. The materiality matrix is a useful tool to show which topics are important to stakeholders and which topics are important to us. The horizontal axis of the matrix depicts the importance that AgroFair attributes to a certain aspect of business, the vertical axis depicts the measure of importance of that aspect to stakeholders. Themes that end up in the upper right corner are themes that both AgroFair and her stakeholders consider the most important (material). The further a topic ends up in the lower left corner, the more our priorities on that specific theme differ. The input for the materiality matrix is established through desk research. Stakeholders are asked to attribute a measure of importance to the individual sub-themes, and AgroFair does the same on her part. The use of this model is new to us this year and since it yields important information we will be developing it further in the coming years.
OUR MATERIALITY MATRIX
OUR SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL COMMITMENT
In such a diverse field of business, there are many different lines of communication. To give you an idea, here is a list of the main players – the stakeholders, within our banana supply chain:
Retailers: the people that sell our bananas. They are a vital link in the banana supply chain. We work closely with them and assist wherever we can. It is important to us that they – our customers!- view us as a trusted partner. If necessary we provide each other with constructive criticism. We strive to be at the forefront by combining innovations in a sustainable and inclusive production and logistic process with marketing concepts. We aim to be an inspiration for the industry and we reflect on our collaboration and our performance. We make it a point to visit all our retailers at least once a year.
Sound financial results are of course vital for our survival in this business. Without them, our vision could not be achieved. Commercial success and a solid financial performance helps us to inspire the industry to follow our example. Shareholders that join us in our focus on profitability and responsibility enable us to achieve our goals and vision. Our annual Shareholders’ Meeting is a great moment to kindle their involvement, offering feedback on planned strategies, discussing innovative philosophies and providing insight into day-to-day projects, strengthening our mutual financial and personal connection over the years.
Central to us and crucial in achieving our mission is of course the quality of our home team. At AgroFair, we boast an exceedingly low employee turnover. The continuity of our employee base is important to our customers. Pleasant and prolonged business relationships validate us as a dependable partner and help us in realising our mission. Regular across-the-board staff consultations are instrumental to the building a solid team. We believe that by bringing the best people together we can build the organization of our dreams.
- Small producers and plantation workers
Our banana farmers and plantation workers are very important for us. We have built direct and long-term relationships with the farming co-operations. This helps to establish a stable vending point for the farmers. Thanks to email, telephone, Skype and Whatsapp, we are able to communicate directly and almost daily. We make regular trips to our sourcing countries and speak directly to the management of the co-operations. They inform us of their priorities and let us know on what counts improvements can be made. A high point of the year is the annual CPAF (Cooperativa de Productores de AgroFair) meeting where all the farmers come together and where of course we attend in person.
- Other stakeholders (certifiers, NGO’s)
Many other groups such as fruit companies, politics and government, scientists, certifiers such as Fairtrade organizations, and industry organizations figure in the intricate knitwork of our business, influencing AgroFair either directly or indirectly. Increasingly, we are engaging in active conversations with these groups, interested as we are to hear their opinions and involve them in our mission.
THE MATERIALITY MATRIX
A VALUABLE ADDITION TO OUR BUSINESS PALETTE
Results of the Materiality Matrix
Having put a face on the colourful mix that are our stakeholders, you may appreciate the importance of sounding out the degree to which we see eye to eye on different topics of the trade. Fortunately – and amazingly, if you think about it – this year’s results show that on most issues we are all on the same page. Themes that show a notable difference are:
- Development of employees
- Food waste
To us, this is very good news. On both these subject, a difference in priorities is exactly what we would expect to find. It can be easily explained by the fact that, whereas the training and development of our own employees is of course vital to us, it is not something that keeps our stakeholders awake at night, whereas food waste is something that at Agrofair Headquarters is relatively easy to control, when compared to the efforts that, for instance, a supermarket has to put into this topic.
All in all, we consider the Materiality Matrix a valuable addition to our business palette, yielding useful and practical information that we will gladly make use of in the years to come. Having said that, of course even a useful tool like the Matrix is not infallible nor is it all-encompassing, as it relies heavily on information provided by the parties themselves.
At AgroFair, we do not set our priorities lightly. It is, consequently, our expectation and our sincere hope that the results of this matrix are an accurate representation of reality, showing that we are on the right track and setting the right priorities. Of course that does not mean that we do not welcome your feedback or criticism. We do! Please feel free to submit any ideas or additions that you may have to: firstname.lastname@example.org