Espigoladors

We fight against food waste and to achieve social integration.

Monday 2 June 2014, by estercebrian

Introduction: Why choosing this company?


In the first phase of this project, we focus on finding a company that proves that doing business ethically and responsibly can be combined with economic benefits. The main problem for us was to select the correct firm because in most cases we find large international companies that dedicate ample space of their website to praise their responsible actions but we did not know if it was a great well done marketing campaign or was a real firm goal. So it was difficult for us to trust these companies.

For that reason we chose to work with a company closer to us, in which we really have faith and that inspire us. A company that really believe that another business model is possible and that shows that someone like us has the power to do it real, starting on a small scale but with a clear and defined mission and the desire to make a socially responsible and ethical business policy.

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.


Espigoladors is a start-up born of the enthusiasm and work of three Catalan entrepreneurs motivated and aware about the serious problem of food waste and the critical situation that many people are suffering due to the current economic crisis.

This is a business project already started but in the development stage. Espigoladors aims to be a social enterprise by applying a model of economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Espigoladors develops its business enterprise through the collection of fruits and vegetables that are either dismiss by a decline in sales, for aesthetic reasons, due to excess production or because the fruit is ripe and the consumer will no longer purchase it (it is never collected fruit and vegetables that were not suitable for consumption). This recollection takes place in local markets, hypermarkets and consumer cooperatives of producers.

From the results of this assortment derive two channels: first, part of the collection is transformed for the creation of a new product destined for the final consumer (sauces, vegetables creams and jams). This manufactured product is labeled under the brand “Espigoladors" which became the main source of revenues of the company. On the other hand, another part of this collection is intended directly to groups that have no access to food or organizations that manage access to food such as soup kitchens.

Finally, the third part of the project is based on the marketing of these processed products. To achieve this goal the company carries out a sales strategy that focuses on selling in local markets and fairs, on-line stores that promote a handmade and proximity product, consumer cooperatives distribution channels and in neighborhood shops.

Espigoladors is aware that the level of competition is high and therefore differentiates its products by a good image, a clear and attractive message and a quality product. The transformation of part of the food collection, its production and sale gives the possibility to Espigoladors to be a project economically self-sufficient and sustainable.

In this process, both in production and logistics are involved people from groups at risk of social exclusion. The company objective is promoting human dignity and generating work opportunities.

Espigoladors project is a social enterprise that aims to achieve economic sustainability in the medium term while performing a social role in society. The company expects to make a business model that encourages dignity of those who are in a situation of social exclusion and simultaneously hopes to sensitize citizens on such an important topic as food waste. Its founders want the company to become a leading firm in the field of social opportunities and providing solutions.

Being a small company in size and in the first steps of its development, benefits are reduced scale. According to the income statement of the company, the first years Espigoladors would get 812€, the second year would have losses of € -15 041, the third year would win 16,417€, the fourth 42,339€ and the fifth € 67,882.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.


The company’s mission is to fight against food waste employing groups at risk of social exclusion. The project was created with the detection of a range of needs and as a result of the currently situation affecting the Spanish country: much food is thrown away and many people are starving. The company’s goal is to become a project of social transformation able to provide solutions and create opportunities.

The vision of Espigoladors is beyond creating a quality product. The company aims to create a powerful production model that connects three social problems that are affecting harshly the city of Barcelona:

  • Wastage of food, particularly fruit and vegetables are rejected in the Barcelona municipal markets, shops, supermarkets and producers. In Spain there are 7.7 million food tons thrown annually, approximately 163 kg per person on average. All these foods could be consumed or used for another purpose but still they end up in our garbage. These products are wasted as a result of our consumption habits, because of high quality standards that reject certain foods only based on aesthetic criteria and due to wrong planning purchases by both supermarkets as consumers. Espigoladors aims to create a sustainable business model with the environment that takes advantage of these resources reintroducing them into the production chain. In this way the firm can achieve a more efficiently natural resources use.
  • The need to create opportunities for people who are at risk of social exclusion. Espigoladors seeks to train women over 50 years without subsidies and non-working and young people at risk of social exclusion. The need to generate opportunities is one of the main reasons for the creation of this project. The company wants to give a solution to the severe problem of unemployment granting tools and resources for those who may have serious difficulties to reintegrate back into the working world. The company wants to impact directly on the lives of these people by providing them training in an opportunities environment where develop themselves.
  • Food shortages suffered by many social groups, soup kitchens users or those who search for aliments from food organizations like Caritas or Cruz Roja. The 27% of the Spanish population is considered to be under the poverty threshold and in Catalonia this percentage rises to 30%. These people live at risk of social exclusion, have troubles to pay all their expenses and to get access to basic services as enjoying a healthy and balanced diet. The current situation shows that there are between 3 and 4 million Spanish considered poor while food in good condition is being wasted. One of the main commitments of the company is donate for free a portion of the food collected to nonprofit organizations that make these products reach the people who cannot afford a healthy diet.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?


For us it is very inspiring to see how a group of people with the same goal breaks the conventional idea of business and takes risks with a great belief in the creation of an ambitious project that includes not only ethical management but a corporate social responsibility. Another aspect that is very interesting about this company is that this group of entrepreneurs began their action giving an answer to the problem faced by people in the society closest to them. This company shows that people like us have the power to change things.

Business models as Espigoladors raises make us see that not everything is based on profits, there is a way to obtain good results in business being ethically and responsibly.

What makes us believe in this firm is that they initially started with the objective of finding a solution to a society problem of environmentally sustainability. Its mission and vision are fully involved in this objective and other projects expanded from this idea as donating a portion of the food collected to nonprofit organizations or employing people at risk of social exclusion.

Recently the company has won the award granted by “La Caixa Foundation – Obra Social”, this award demonstrates us that Espigoladors has a strong business model with really good future expectations and show us that large companies as La Caixa are beginning to take into account these sustainable models of business. Espigoladors also won the award from TASCA an organization that rewards socially responsible projects.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.


Due to the company is still in an initial process of creation the next challenges that Espigoladors faces are related to the fact of demonstrating a sustainable business model in the economic sense. The company should continue looking for new food suppliers that will enable them to expand the resources available for manufacturing their products.

In the future the company, which started its work in Barcelona, can expand its business to other regions of the Catalan territory and eventually attend throughout Spain.

The company wants to be a leader in the industry providing solutions and social opportunities and setting an example for new companies. Espigoladors want both associations and companies to be involved in the project and position itself as a reference. Its main objective is to raise public awareness about food waste and to show the current situation affecting the country.

Bibliography

Bibliography

PLAFORMS OF THE COMPANY - Espigoladors, accessed first on May 30th

  1. http://aprofitemelsaliments.wordpress.com/espigoladors/
  1. https://twitter.com/espigoladors
  1. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Espigoladors/196043207246117

OTHERS SOURCES:

  1. “La Caixa”, accessed May 29th, http://obrasocial.lacaixa.es/
  1. “Espigoladors2012”, accessed May 29th , www.tascaresponsable.files.wordpress.com http://tascaresponsable.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/espigoladors_tasca_responsable_2013.pdf
  1. “TASCA”, accessed May 29th, www.tascaresponsable.wordpress.com
  1. “TASCA”, accessed May 29th, www.tasca.cat http://tasca.cat/espigoladors-tasca-responsable/
  1. “iEcologics”, accessed May 29th, www.iecologics.wordpress.com
  1. “iEcologics”, accessed May 29th, www.iecologics.com http://www.iecologics.com/directori/listing/espigoladors
  1. Stefania Gozzer, Barcelona, accessed May 29th, www.elpais.com http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2014/03/31/catalunya/1396283000_828723.html
  1. Rubén García Parra, Barcelona, accessed May 29th www.lacontraeconomia.wordpress.com

Location: Barcelona (Spain)

Sector: Manufacturing, Accommodation and food service activities

Official website: http://aprofitemelsaliments.wordpress.com/espigoladors/

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