“For us, CSR is not just activities we engage in through our business – it is our business.”
Sales director Marie Delassus is proud of the positive social impact La Plantation is making and rightly so.
“From the beginning, we’ve considered ourselves a social business, everything we do has a positive impact on the community and the environment – for us profitability is simply a means of guaranteeing our sustainability.”
Aiming to generate long-term change means addressing a wide range of aspects to their business model, but La Plantation has carved out a niche in the market with their organic socially responsible spices and peppers.
“We have around 20 hectares of pepper plants, with partners buying and selling our products across 20 countries, but all of the profit we make is invested back into the local community,” explains Delassus.
La Plantation differs from many social enterprises in that it lives up to the grandiose ideals it espouses, providing jobs and skills for the local community – replete with fair wages, free food and accommodation to anyone regardless of gender, background, or age.
“Obviously as a pepper farm, environmental sustainability is very important – if we don’t protect nature, we’re killing our company.”
As such, La Plantation has gone out of its way to preserve local biodiversity, using clean water and investing in solar energy.
“The solar panels alone were never going to be enough, so we paid to have power connected from the city to our farm, meaning all of the villages in between are also able to connect, instead of using expensive generators that create more pollution.”
Far from just a farm, La Plantation also sponsors an entirely non-profit venture, Les Ecoles de La Plantation – the schools of La Plantation.
“Reinvesting locally means hiring locals, working with local suppliers, but also supporting the local community.”
For La Plantation, that means addressing the limited resources of a nearby primary school, which couldn’t afford to pay for supplies or even full-time teachers. Now the school enjoys quality education, free bicycles, stationary supplies, and even transportation for students who live further away.
As Delassus details La Plantation’s application for official World Fair Trade Organisation certification, it becomes clear that their values are the source of their growth.
“It’s not just business for the sake of business, it’s business for good – our main focus now is how we can expand our impact, we want to grow each year, like any company, but we want to do so sustainably.”