QUARTERLY RETURN 90 Winter 2013/14
Members’ day and Agm
Filming in Bolivia
Women’s role in coffee
Join us on 14 March 2014 and hear directly from one of our Kenyan handcraft customers
Investor funds at work throughout the quinoa supply chain
Growing opportunities for women
Happy New Year to you all, I hope that you have enjoyed the festive break.
This quarter brings you news of some new lending in Burkina Faso for cashews and mangoes. We also take a closer look at the work of Equal Exchange Trading and their recent partnership with American co-operative and similarly named Equal Exchange Inc. Here at Shared Interest we are already looking ahead to what we expect to be a busy year. One important activity will be our Strategic Review which will look at the organisation as a whole.
We will be bringing you details of the process at the AGM and will also be keeping you up to date in future QRs. Our Annual General Meeting and Members’ Day will take place in London this year. We will have an exciting programme for you with lots of opportunities to participate and meet our staff. As in previous years, our overseas team will be joining us with an update of their activity. We are also expecting an inspiring keynote speech from Catherine Kasao Mututua of the Kenyan womens co-operative, Namayiana. Finally, I am pleased to confirm that the Board have proposed to continue to offer 0.5% interest to members who were registered with the Society as at 30 September 2013. This will be voted on by the members in March.
Patricia Alexander, Managing Director
Co-operative Bank update We are pleased to note that the Co-operative Bank has completed its financial restructuring exercise successfully, addressing recent concerns about the financial stability of the Bank. The Board will now be considering whether the Co-operative Bank remains the optimal banking partner for Shared Interest going forward and will keep members informed. For more information see the statement on our website.
Fairtrade Fortnight 24 Feb – 9 Mar 2014 The Fairtrade Foundation is behind an annual two week spotlight on the benefits of Fairtrade, and each year encourages supporters to spread the message behind one key issue. The focus for 2014 is the banana trade. ‘Make Bananas Fair’ aims to help millions of struggling banana farmers and workers get a good deal. It is the next part of the Foundation’s three year initiative to Make Food Fair. An impressive 1.2 billion Fairtrade bananas are now sold in British shops. However, this is only 1 in 3 of bananas sold. You can order a campaign action pack, with plenty of resources for your own events and activities, from the Fairtrade Foundation website www.fairtrade.org.uk The campaign features banana farmer, Albeiro Alfonso ‘Foncho’ Cantillo, from Colombia. So ‘Stick with Foncho’ to ‘Make Bananas Fair!’
Other upcoming events: ‘Good Work’, the Ecumenical World Development Conference 2014 The High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, from 7 - 9 February 2014 Fairtrade Fortnight Monday 24 February – Sunday 9 March 2014 Oxford International Women’s Festival (Various locations) 2 – 14 March 2014
Front cover photo: Quinoa farming in Bolivia, see page 6
South West Fairtrade Business Awards City Hall, Bristol, Thursday 6 March 2014 International Women’s Day 8 March 2014 Namayiana Jewellery Exhibition Central High School, Newcastle 11 March 2014 Shared Interest AGM British Medical Association Head Office, BMA House, London, on Friday 14 March 2014 at 11am.
and Annual General Meeting
The 2014 Members’ Day and Annual General Meeting will take place at the British Medical Association Head Office, BMA House in London, on Friday 14 March, Starting at 11am. The AGM booklet and voting card are now provided to members, along with a summary of the day and details of the resolutions and the candidates standing for election. We expect the AGM to be very busy so to help us plan for the day we would really appreciate it if you could confirm your attendance on the voting card or through our online voting system. If you cannot attend the AGM in person you can still take part in the democratic working of the Society by appointing the Moderator or another member as proxy on your behalf.
It should be noted that the election of Directors and Council members is by postal ballot only. It is therefore important that you complete this part of the voting card as you will not have the opportunity to vote on this resolution at the AGM. As this year will include a contested election for members of Council, you are asked to select one of three candidates standing for one post on Council. The three candidates Mark Hayes, Nigel Watson and Ashley Wyatt have each prepared an election statement which can be found in the booklet and on our website. The Nominations Committee has also selected a new Non-Executive Director - Paul Chandler - who was co-opted onto the Board in December 2013 and now offers himself for election by the members at the AGM. We are also looking forward to welcoming Catherine Kasao Mututua and Nousson ene Marona from Kenyan Womens handcraft co‑operative Namayiana as keynote speakers on the day. Nousson has worked for Namayiana for over 18 years and is the elected chairperson of the women’s group. Catherine has worked as a Project Manager for the group since 1995. Full details of the event are provided in the AGM booklet, and online www.shared-interest.com/agm. A short interview with Paul Chandler will also be available to view online.
Are you be able to support us at our events and help spread the word about Shared Interest Society? Shared Interest Society relies on a network of ambassadors across the UK. An ambassador is a volunteer who actively promotes the Society in their local area to attract new members. We are currently seeking ambassadors from our existing membership across the UK, but specifically in Cumbria, Oxfordshire, Scotland and Wales. Ambassador, Stephen Thomas, supported us at our October debate in Cardiff and said: “After working for large aid organisations, both here and overseas, I felt that there was also something I could do financially. It seemed a natural step to become an investor with Shared Interest Society. I extended my commitment a couple of years ago by becoming an ambassador.” Helping at events such as ‘What’s Faith got to do with it?’ is just one of the ways in which our volunteers can make a difference. To find out what is going on in your area or become an ambassador yourself, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s Faith got to do with it? What is the value of money? Are we responsible for the impact our money has? Does your money do good? These were the questions discussed at our October debate, which we co-hosted with a number of partners. Taking place just after National Ethical Investment Week, at Cardiff University Business School, the morning was attended by over 60 members, faith leaders, and fair trade supporters. The debate was chaired by The Right Reverend John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, with speakers from the host organisations. These included the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, Church in Wales, Fair Trade Wales, and the Business School. Entitled ‘What’s faith got to do with it?’ the event sought to explore how churches can put their money to work ethically. Tim Morgan, Finance Director at Shared Interest Society, spoke about our recent achievements, and showed a film about our investors and the impact of Shared Interest Society finance.
Engagement Manager, Sally Reith, was at the event. “It was a fantastic opportunity to meet some of our existing members and to meet others interested in the issues around ethical investment. I hope that people have been inspired to challenge, question and continue discussions around money and that they don’t forget they can express their values through their finances.” We were delighted to receive new investments following the event. Share Accounts are held by church and faith groups around the UK. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about investing. Call 0191 233 9102. Have a look at the events section on our website to find out about future events www.shared-interest.com/events
and living standards
The Kasunga tea estate is not only a place to work, but a place to live In summer 2012, we introduced you to Ugandan tea producer, Mpanga Growers Tea Factory Ltd.
Such conditions have an impact on morale, absences, and productivity.
A cohesive community, with tea production at its heart; Mpanga is now using a third Shared Interest Society loan to build new homes for the farming families behind its success. Based on the slopes of the Rwenzori Mountain, Mpanga is owned entirely by smallholder famers. Its mission is to grow, process, and market high quality tea in a sustainable manner to improve the income of farmers.
New homes will mean more farmers can live on site leading to a whole new way of living.
In 2005, a Shared Interest Society loan enabled the co‑operative to purchase the Kasunga tea estate, which also included a training centre. This boosted production levels across the factory and led to increased sales and income. Using a second loan, farmers were able to buy fertiliser which enhanced the quality and quantity of their yields and further developed Uganda’s place in the competitive international tea market. Now, following early repayment, the Society has arranged a third loan. This time, the investment will focus on the people behind the product. Sixty extra homes will be built for farmers and their families, developing what is an already thriving community within the Kasunga grounds. More than an income For those that live in villages away from the complex, it can take two hours every day to walk to work. Poor quality roads mean farmers often have to face harsh conditions aggravated by extreme weather during their long commute on foot. There is no street lighting on the routes and it can be dangerous in the dark.
The estate already caters to the needs of its residents with a canteen, shops, and a recreation centre, as well as a nurse, and kitchen garden. A market, a nursery, and a primary school are all close by, and older children are transported by Mpanga to schools in the nearby town. Alongside new homes, there will be a new playground, netball court and a football pitch. Adolf Sabiiti, General Manager of Mpanga, said:
“The wellbeing of our farmers is of the highest importance to us. The loans have helped us develop our business and improve our farmers’ livelihoods, but we have also been able to make sure our workers have improved lifestyles and living standards.” Malcolm Curtis, Customer Service Manager at Shared Interest Society, said: “Mpanga’s third loan demonstrates the potential of a Shared Interest Society investment. The finance has facilitated a natural progression of improvements; in the product, the processes, and now in the lives of the producers. We are also pleased to be able to continue to have an impact in rural Uganda.”
Earlier this year, we chose Andean Naturals as the focus of one of our social impact films. Sergio Nunez de Arco, Quinoa Specialist, tells us how it felt to shine a spotlight on quinoa and Bolivian farming families. Q. How did you feel when Shared Interest Society chose Andean Naturals to be the focus of their 2014 film? A. Anytime that someone asks me to tell them about quinoa, I get excited. I can talk for ever about quinoa. But a film, now that opens so many possibilities, because it is no longer me telling the story, but the farmers themselves. You can see where they live, the environment they have to work in, hear their struggles, successes and dreams. A film brings a whole layer of credibility to the quinoa story. Q. Tell us about Andean Naturals A. Our mission is to share quinoa with the world. We want to improve the lives of smallholder family farmers in the Andes. We want them to take care of their lands, produce a healthy food, and earn enough to live well. To accomplish this, we chose to be importers and wholesalers of quinoa in the United States, and to build a quinoa washing and cleaning plant in Bolivia. Q. It must have been a great experience, seeing the story unfold during filming. How did you come to be in Bolivia at the time of the filming? A. I was actually supposed to be in California meeting with industrial buyers, but I bought a ticket to be there for the filming. Often times we overlook the importance that the lenders and financiers have in the supply chain. As you will see in the film, the growers have, as one of them put it, a desire to “be like brothers, like a family” with the cleaning plant, with us, the market-access partners, and the lenders. I am glad I went for the filming, to make sure the lenders that invest in Shared Interest Society know how much the farmers and our companies appreciate what they do. 06 QR90
Q. There is some fantastic footage. Did you have to face any harsh conditions to capture such beautiful shots? A. Well, the camera crew, led by Matías Musa, was fantastic. He did not complain once about the long, bumpy car rides, the food, and the cold. Just to get to the farmers, you need to land in La Paz at 12,000 feet of altitude, so you have the oxygen deprivation kicking in. Then you need to travel 10 hours to get to the towns where the quinoa farmers we work with live. Half of this time we are driving on dusty dirt roads. It is a tough place to live; frosts all year long, a highland desert, above the tree line. But there is quinoa and people who are hardy and have survived there on quinoa and llamas for centuries. Q. For you, what were the main highlights of the filming experience? A. There were awesome events, such as being received in a small village where a women’s group is forming a new co-operative. We saw quinoa being planted both by hand and with tractors. Two leaders explained the importance of various plants, how they would read the signs in the land to know when to plant, whether it would be a year with lots of rain or drought. But I think overall the excitement of the people we interviewed is contagious. They really want the world to hear their story. Q. There is talk of a shortage in supply in countries of origin now, as quinoa becomes a luxury food in the West? Is this the case? A. That is not quite the case as yet, but it may come. Supply is a bit less than it should be to meet all the demand brought about by the United Nations International Year of Quinoa. However, farmers regulate their stock well and retain a store of quinoa for their own consumption, and in case of crop failure the following year. But the prices have indeed gone up, and while people in the cities complain about the cost, an estimated 45,000 family farmers in Bolivia are working their way out of poverty. Andean Naturals works with about a tenth of those.
Q. Do you have a message for Shared Interest Society investors? Why do you think they should watch this film? A. I think this film is so important to the investors. I mean they had to choose between this and putting their money in a bank that funds any business that generates returns, regardless of any exploitation of people or planet. But when investors put their funds in Shared Interest Society, they trust that their money is being used to lift people out of poverty while taking care of the environment. This is what the film will show the investors; the very reason they chose to invest their funds in financing fair trade businesses. Q. And finally, what about quinoa, what would you say to someone who has not tried it? A. Farmers laugh when I tell them how we eat quinoa. They say “you have to toast the quinoa before adding the water! That way it really is nice and fluffy and sweet.” I tried toasting my quinoa and yes, it is a whole new level of goodness. Try it!
A day in the life of a Bolivian quinoa farming family 4am
Wake and start cooking to prepare meals for the day. Favourite breakfast is a quinoa and milk porridge. It is very cold before the sunrise.
Either husband or wife take the llamas and sheep out to pasture. This takes 2 hours. Then it’s an hour walk back to the quinoa fields.
Meanwhile, the children are helped off to school.
Work begins in the quinoa fields - planting, weeding, repairs, and treating crops. Each farmer helps his neighbouring farmers. Working in groups is a tradition.
Everyone gets together in the fields for a quick snack. This is usually a quinoa drink, with a quinoa and wheat flatbread.
Lunchtime: all farmers get together and pool whatever food they have brought. Everyone gets their fill.
Husband or wife goes to get the kids from school and starts on supper.
After cleaning up in the fields, the llamas and sheep are brought back in.
Everyone is back at home to share supper. Often there are community meetings in the town to attend after dinner. Bedtime for the children is 8pm.
Equal Exchange Trading supports women coffee farmers Equal Exchange Trading has been a customer of Shared Interest Society since 1997 when it applied for a buyer credit facility to assist with the purchase of producer orders. In March 2010 approval was given to convert part of the outstanding buyer credit borrowing into a term loan and in November, this year, with the involvement of Massachusetts-based Equal Exchange Inc (featured in QR 85), we have continued the relationship.
Senga Gall, Equal Exchange Trading, Managing Director said “The two Equal Exchanges have existed side by side for decades now and we have decided to integrate the two co-operatives in order to advance the work that we do in authentic fair trade. We have both always shared the same mission and vision and share similar supply chains. This is a really positive step for Equal Exchange UK.” The origins of Equal Exchange Trading stretch back to 1979 when three voluntary workers returned to Edinburgh after working on aid projects in various parts of Africa. Along with a sister organisation in London, Campaign Co‑op, they started buying instant coffee from Bukoba on Lake Victoria in Tanzania. Equal Exchange Trading was involved in the creation of two recognised fair trade brands: Cafédirect and Liberation, whose success has provided enormous impact on farmers in a number of countries. Equal Exchange UK brand now has a range of over 60 Fairtrade and Organic foods and beverages and they work with 20 farmer co-operatives across the world. 08 QR90
Equal Exchange Trading is owned and controlled by its employees, making it a ‘workers’ co-operative’. Each employee member has an equal share in the ownership of the company and they operate within a shared common value system. Equal Exchange Inc, also a workers co-operative, now has a co-operative share in Equal Exchange Trading, integrating the two organisations in a fundamental way. Equal Exchange Trading’s “Coffee Grown by Women” range is an example of their going beyond the basics of Fairtrade to address the needs of the farmers they work with.
Did you know that the majority of the World’s coffee farmers are women? Women’s work in the production of coffee regularly goes unrecognised and unpaid. Despite women often doing 60-80% of the productive work in growing coffee, they do not receive the financial rewards and have little say in decision making within the coffee co-operatives, within their community, or even in their household. Equal Exchange Trading now buys green coffee directly from women farmers in Peru, Uganda and Nicaragua. This has empowered the women to join the coffee co-operatives, take part in meetings and decision-making and receive payment for the work that they do. The women are feeling more confident and valued and now find that they have a voice not only in the co-ops and their communities but also at home in decisions on household spending. Recent reports from the UN and World Bank state that gender equality makes good economic sense and that when women
control household income the family’s health, nutrition and education improves at a faster rate because less money is spent outside the household. Besides Fairtrade and Organic premiums Equal Exchange Trading pays a small women’s premium and the women farmers decide themselves how this is distributed. In Uganda this is being used to fund a school for local orphans and in Peru they have been replacing old smoking stoves with efficient new ones. In Nicaragua the women’s premium funded a cervical screening programme for all the women in the community. Although the volumes of coffee are relatively small, there are nearly 500 women farmers in three different co-operatives involved in the project and the impact is already being felt. There are even reports of men making the family meal while their wives are at meetings.
Mangoes and cashews
in Burkina Faso
Fifty years after it first began supplying dried mango, a Term Loan is helping Coopake make a vital move to larger premises. Coopake (Cooperative Agricole du Kenedougou) is based in Burkina Faso in West Africa and started life in 1963 with nine individual dried mango producers. It took its current name in 2000 and diversified into cashew processing in 2008. Now, it has 162 producer members and employs over 140 people. Hibiscus was introduced as a new product three years ago and is cultivated for its flower which is used for tea. Coopake has recently put in place an expansion plan. The acquisition of some additional land and the relocation of the cashew processing unit, will allow the co‑operative to improve quality management and conditions for the workers. A term loan will be used to finance the move. The new cashew factory is expected to employ a further 50 people, in addition to seasonal workers. With each household consisting of approximately
10 people, it is anticipated the project will affect more than 1,500 individuals, approximately two thirds being women and girls. The Fairtrade Premium is expected to increase by more than 200%, enabling Coopake to deliver more social projects for the benefit of its workers, members and the community at large. There are projects in the pipeline to address local needs with regard to health, education, finance, and infrastructure. In addition, Coopake has delivered training on the making of batik cloth (local fabric), supplied mosquito nets, arranged literacy classes, and raised awareness of HIV/Aids. The producer members of Coopake have a guaranteed market for its fresh fruits, and are paid without delay, sustaining their livelihoods.
Cashew nut processing Cashew processing shields producers from the unpredictability of the raw nut market. • Cashew nuts are essentially the seed of the cashew fruit • After harvesting, the nut is separated from the fruit • The nuts are dried under the sun for around 3 days • They are then manually checked and cleaned • There is another stage of drying in the sun
• Roasting softens the shell for easier removal • The hulling process is partly mechanised • Further drying follows now the kernel has been released • De-husking is the next manual step, and removes shell particles from the kernel • A sorting stage separates the full and half kernels • Finally, the nuts are packaged.
Updated technology will improve safety and profits at UPPFL/CO UPPFL/CO (Union Provinciale de Producteurs de Fruits et Légumes de la Comoé) in Burkina Faso is also using a term loan to improve its cashew and mango operations. The major challenge facing most drying facilities is the ageing and the archaic nature of the ovens, the outputs of which are reducing each year and posing real work place hazards to the employees. UPPFL/CO intends therefore gradually to replace the old ovens with modern technology developed
in South Africa to make the drying processing safer and more efficient. In addition, the haulage costs of raw materials and finished goods have been increasing each year because UPPFL/CO procures this service externally. UPPFL/CO intends to purchase a truck to reduce its costs in this area. All these developments should lead to increased production, income, product quality, and profitability, enabling additional investment in social and infrastructure development projects.
Mango drying Mango orchards go some way to help mitigate the effects of climate change in Burkina Faso. • The two types of mango supplied are called Amelie and Brooks
• The fruit is then peeled and cut into small pieces, again manually
• The fruit are harvested manually, mostly by women
• It is placed on metal plates to be dried over 4-6 hours
• Harvests are collected from members’ orchards
• There is a final stage of quality checks before it is graded according to drying time
• The mango is stored for 3-5 days to allow ripening
• Then it is packed and stored for transportation.
• It is manually washed and checked for ripeness and quality
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A gift that changes lives of future generations
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Thank you for your continuing support. The Shared Interest Team
WITH WITH HEART SOUL
Our latest set of audited Social Accounts were completed recently and are available online at www.shared-interest/social-accounts. The report, which sits alongside our Directors’ Report & Financial Statements and Annual Review, forms a reflection of our key objectives. Together, these reports illustrate how and why we continue with our mission to provide financial services and business support to make livelihoods and living standards better for disadvantaged communities. We have been producing this report since 2005 and find it a valuable exercise to measure our effectiveness and shape future strategy. We look at all parts of the organisation and ask for input from partners, customers, staff and members. This year we undertook our biennial members’ survey and we would like to thank the 1,993 members who took the time to complete this. Some key findings from this report are: •
We reached a significant milestone in the proportion of direct lending made to smallholder famers and handcrafters. For the first time in our history, this has surpassed the amount lent to buyers. Increasing the number of producer groups we lend to by 18 during the year, we now lend directly to 97 producer groups in 24 countries.
For such a small team our reach was significant. During 2012/13, our finance reached 375 fair trade organisations globally and we made payments of £46.8m across 62 countries.
While we have continued to approve new coffee facilities, it is great to see we also approved more lending in foods such as pineapples, cashews and bananas.
From our largest single payment of just under £700,000 made to a coffee farmer in Peru, to our smallest payment of £64 made to a handcraft producer in Kenya, direct lending continues to be an ongoing aim for us.
Of course, it is our members who make our overseas impact possible and we ended the financial year with £29.4m in Share Capital and 8,806 investors. With the average age of members standing at 68.
our goal for 2015 Since launching our 25th anniversary appeal in July the response from members has been very encouraging but we still need to do more to reach our goal. Members have embraced the challenge and we have had a number of requests for postcards to distribute to local churches and networks. Some members have also organised stalls at their local farmers’ markets or held coffee mornings to raise awareness of Shared Interest Society. We know a target of 10,000 members and share capital total of £33 million is ambitious however, if every member sets up a monthly £10 standing order we would actually raise over a £1million of additional capital. Keep your ideas coming and thank you for your ongoing support.
Interest on Member Accounts We are pleased to tell you that the Board agreed at the December meeting to include a provision in the accounts to pay 0.5% interest to members who were registered with the Society as at 30 September 2013. This will be calculated based on month-end balances throughout the entire 2012-13 year. A statement with your interest will be sent out in March. If, however, you would like to waive your future interest or donate it to the Shared Interest Foundation you can do so by writing to us.
Contact us Shared Interest 2 Cathedral Square Groat Market Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1EH 0191 233 9102 email@example.com
Our goal for 2015
Quarterly Return is the newsletter of Shared Interest Society. Shared Interest Society Ltd is a fair trade lending organisation which is a member of Co-operatives UK. It uses the pooled investments of its members in the UK to effect real and lasting improvements to people’s lives in the developing world. Shared Interest Society Ltd is registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies, number 27093R. The Directors decide on what the interest amount will be, if any, after the end of the financial year when financial results for the past year are known. From 1 October 2011 the interest rate has been 0.5%.
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Share Capital 1 October 2013
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