GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – Traditionally, agricultural workers do not receive benefits the way corporate employees do. But, AgroAmerica CEO Fernando Bolaños, a member of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), saw how taking care of his employees could alter the lives of his workers, their families, their communities, and ultimately his company's bottom line, and for his efforts he has received a SEN SUSTAINABILITY AWARD in the Inclusive Business and Community category.
Sponsored by the Social Engagement Network (SEN), a network of members within YPO, the annual awards — launched in 2008 — highlight a key value for YPO members: the responsibility and challenge of improving the planet by making choices to enrich the communities in which members work, play and live. These annual awards cultivate awareness about inclusive business and community, philanthropy, sustainability and the environment.
With operations in United States, Europe, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Mexico, AgroAmerica has the potential to have far-reaching impact on not only the socio-economic development of Guatemala but the entire region as well. AgroAmerica's banana and vegetable oil businesses employ more than 13,000 workers who provide for some 65,000 family members in 85 different rural communities.
"Nearby communities have little or no access to basic public services, and most of our workers live in those communities," says Bolaños. "We are aware that we cannot be successful and sustainable in the area in the long term if our immediate communities do not develop with us. We know that if our people have health, education and opportunities, they will perform better, have less absenteeism and better understand instructions. There will be fewer accidents, they will be more loyal to the company, and they will be happier people. So we will all benefit."
According to Bolaños, the key to improving the lives of his workers is empowering the locals to take ownership of environmental and social programs themselves. AgroAmerica provides the tools the communities need to succeed and structures the programs in a way that are sustainable for community members. Guided by the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, AgroAmerica's commitment targets health, food security, education, work, savings and credit.
Founded in 1958 AgroAmerica has grown into a multinational company that employs more than 13,000 people and produces more than 22 million boxes of bananas each year. The family-owned company, which has operations in the United States, Europe, Guatemala, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, Panama and Mexico, also distributes pineapples and processes vegetable oils. AgroAmerica has emerged as a leader in socially responsible and environmentally sustainable farming. The company has implemented rigorously developed workplace safety standards, the latest water conservation and rainwater collection technologies and industry-leading worker benefits. Its CSR programs have benefited more than 60 rural communities across south-west Guatemala, by among other things providing access to medical clinics, nutritional and educational programs.
About SEN and YPO
The SEN SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS cultivate awareness about inclusive business and community, philanthropy, sustainability and the environment. Sponsored by the Social Engagement Network, the annual awards — launched in 2008 — highlight a key value for YPO membership: the responsibility and challenge of improving the planet by making choices to enrich the communities in which members work, play and live. The awards recognize outstanding, innovative members who have made a significant, measurable impact in their business, community and personal journeys. They honor member companies for their good work while raising the profile of sustainable initiatives around the globe. Inclusive Business and Community Awards: Recognize YPO members whose companies provide valuable social impact to disadvantaged communities by integrating them into their core business models. Philanthropy Award: Distinguishes YPO members for their philanthropic and charitable initiatives. Sustainability and Environment Awards: Celebrate YPO members whose companies offer positive sustainable and environmental solutions through business model, products, services and processes. Best of the Best Award: Presented to the best of the best among awardees from all SEN Sustainability Awards categories.
YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected around the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Lifelong Learning and Idea Exchange™. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 23,000peers and their families in more than 120 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues.
For more information, visit ypo.org.