A PERFECT CIRCLE We are increasingly recognised for our unique combination banking expertise and CSRknowledge at every level of the Food and Agribusiness sector Anke van Kempen: Win-win A project Rabobank set up for ECOM in Paraguay is an excel lent example of how Rabobank can forge stronger relationships with its clients, by helping them to improve the quality and sustainability of their entire supply chain. ECOM Agroindustrial Corp, global cotton and coffee trader and a major Rl cliënt, asked Rabobank to support a cotton project in Paraguay. Cotton production has fallen dramatically in Paraguay over the past two decades. The fall in production has hit ECOM subsidiary AGUSA, which owns six gins, the machines that separate the seeds from raw cotton fibres. The aim of the 'Better cotton initiative' - involv- ing 1,500 farmers - is to revitalise the cotton sector and increase cotton farmers' income by improving productivity and the quality of the cotton, making the cotton sector more sustainable. Rabobank Foundation agreed to provide a one-year EUR 150,000 grant to help farmers and farmer organisations. Rabo Develop- ment partner bank Banco Regional is considering financing the input from the suppliers involved in the project and looking at whether it can finance the farmers directly. ECOM is funding the project, while AGUSA is providing extension services to the farmers and making sure they have access to high-quality inputs (seeds, fertilisers, and so on). Meanwhile, UK retail giant Marks Spencer, another Rl cliënt, is interested in buying the sustainable cotton for clothing sold through its retail outlets. Rabo Development's partner bank in Tanzania, NMB, is already successfully working with a number of major Rl clients in the country. The bank is also involved in improving the supply chain to make it easier for Rl clients to sell their products to farmers. "For instance," Hans Bogaard says, "we're working with Yara, a fertiliser trader, by providing the financing for its Tanzanian subsidiary to buy its organic fertilisers, under a guarantee from Rabo London. NMB is then financing the Agro dealers who buy the fertilisers to sell on to the farmers. Finally, it's involved in a voucher system that enables farmers to buy the fertilisers. So we're covering the entire chain and adding a lot of value for Yara and the agri sector as a whole." One of the biggest challenges faced by companies like Yara is getting their products to the end-users in countries like Tanzania, and this can have all kinds of knock-on effects that can have a deep impact on the sustainability of local farming. "One of the biggest problems is that yields of most commodities are way too low because the farmers cannot The timing is also perfect. Because Rabobank is profiling itself as a leading F&A bank with a strong focus on sustainability, it makes perfect sense to involve clients and play a proactive role in creating value for them and help them improve their own sustainability. RF's many decades ofexperience with small farmers and RD's partnerships with local banks in developing economies offer Rl a unique selling point and a great opportunity to get even closer to its F&A clients. Anke van Kempen: "When we started the CSR dialogue with our clients, we were looking at it from a risk perspective, in terms of what they were doing and how they were behaving, but now we see it much more as a real opportunity to distinguish ourselves by offering clients something no other bank can." ISSUE 20 THE WORD

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'RI The Word / The Word' (EN) | 2009 | | pagina 33