The partnership between the GLS Bank and Bio Foods (PVT) in Sri Lanka is defined by a common understanding of sustainability. The aim of the partnership is to increase the sustainable impact of the 25-year-old family business Bio Foods in the long term. The GLS Bank would like to support and pave this way as an investor. Bio Foods produces 100% organic and fair and has a range of 14 international certifications such as Demeter, FairTrade and Bio Suisse. The SDGs have been taken into account above all in the development of new, common guidelines and have therefore been strongly integrated into the company's activities.
The GLS Bank and Bio Foods cooperation promotes the worldwide supply of organic food and the expansion of organic farming in Sri Lanka. Traditional, environmentally friendly cultivation methods are being revived. The two companies have jointly created a succession plan for a forward-looking development. Bio Foods has also invented a 3R system (Recycle, Reduce, Reuse). This system is used to investigate methods for reducing water use and improving productivity. The own brand is now also being established in Sri Lanka - two stores have already been opened. The stores help to raise awareness of organic products among Sri Lankans.
In order to ensure the livelihood of the approximately 7,400 smallholders, they are fairly paid and trained in organic farming. They receive free technical support, medical care facilities and first aid training. Through additional revenues, community projects for better living standards are financed. Bio Foods rejects all forms of discrimination and supports gender equality by providing additional training for women as well as encouraging them to take up management positions. The contractual establishment of a foundation that implements educational projects in the participating rural regions demonstrates further social commitment.
Both the GLS Bank and Bio Foods define sustainability as humane, forward-looking and ecological. With their sustainable fair trade approach and the financial freedom provided by the GLS Bank, they see an independent, positive business development of Bio Foods as a reciprocal motive of the partnership. This exemplary character will also be used elsewhere: Thus, a further mainstay in Myanmar was already established based on the same model.
The jury honours the partnership between GLS Bank and Bio Foods with a nomination among the top 3 in the category "Corporate Partnerships 2020" of the German Sustainability Award.