July 15, 2016

creating shared value

each year, Nestle awards companies around the world who are 'creating shared value' and this year NEI was selected as one of two finalist among the 400+ entries.  the general manager and our production manager were representing NEi at the official awards ceremony which is in Ivory Coast.  so i was planning on some press releases, articles, etc. from our global HQ in Moshi.  however, about two weeks before the event i get a call from Nestle saying do we have space to accommodate press and the CEO of Nestle Africa at our offices with a video link to Ivory Coast.  there is no part of this that is viable and i tell them i might have an internet connection if it's not a cloudy day AND i have electricity and no i don't have a room that will seat 40+ people.  they said 'work on it' so i go into freak out mode to find a reasonable caterer and everything necessary to host an event like that.  fortunately, Nestle agreed it was unreasonable and they got back to me with a back up plan.

introducing our farmers at the CSV event
instead, they decide to fly the company into Dar where they can get a reliable data link to the award ceremony in Ivory Coast.  oh, and could we bring some of our vanilla farmers along with us?  as the most senior staff member around it falls onto me to get the team along with the farmers organized and onto a plane [many of them for the first time] and all the transfers involved for three days in the capital which is Dar el Salaam.  

in Dar with some of the staff
then it was a full day with Nestle and we were awarded the second prize which was about $200,000USD.  So a good bump for the company... all of which is earmarked for developing the farmer support group to get as many vines in the ground as possible.  it was nice to put on a business suit and heels and act like an executive.  there's not much of that vibe around the office.

the real value is the connections and training that Nestle can supply the company.  they will take employees as interns to help with skills development and send a team to make some on the ground assessments about the direction we are headed.

at the end of the three days i send the staff back to Moshi and stayed in Dar for some sales meetings.  the staff arrived back around noon so i had them fill some orders that needed to go out and there were huge complaints.  they had been traveling for three days and were exhausted.  so it came as a huge surprise to them that business travel is not all fun.  they did however get to spend a day at the Hyatt in Dar which is one of the fanciest place in the country.

there has been so much bad press about Nestle that some people suggested that we not advertise being associated with such a toxic brand and sadly i agree so it's with mixed feelings that i share this award.  it is however, a huge acknowledgment that the work we are doing with the farmers is of real value.  

so when people send me email sending why haven't you updated your blog, now you know.  i'm catching up slowly.

No comments:

Post a Comment