The Stems Fruit business model strives for sustainability, consistency and reliability and the essence of our corporate ethos is embodied by three key pillars, namely; social and environmental responsibility and financial justifiability.
A fundamental asset of Stem’s sustainability outlook is a highly professional, dedicated and loyal grower supply base, who share the company’s vision, mission and resolute characteristics. These shared values and high standards across the board ensure a viable and ecologically sensitive product range.
We place strong value in our evaluation blocks which ensure efficiency through sample-sized empirical research, particularly with new varietal choice. These consider factors such as consistent yield, fruit size, eating quality and shelf life that directly contributes to the financial sustainability of the Stems grower group. These evaluation blocks represent the respective production areas and are managed by a full time evaluator, appointed by Stems and its growers.
Social responsibility – “beyond audits”:
- Our producers utilize the socio-environmentally acclaimed SIZA/SEDEX platform, using the Beyond Audit option, which allows for greater transparency within the supply chain.
- Social responsibility projects, accessible via this system, include training centres for school children, providing access to computers, mentors and crèches at pack houses and farms.
- Recognition, acknowledgement and celebration of farm workers through forums such as the National Farm Worker of the Year competition.
- The Stems growers support land reform and are involved with mentoring projects to assist new upcoming landowners with an array of technical and marketing development in the fruit industry.
The recent drought has brought water management into sharp focus and as a result more effective systems have been re-enforced and entrenched.
- Tension meters were installed in orchards to monitor the water content of soils to ensure effective irrigation.
- Effective mulching and alien plant clearing has long been practised in the area and world-class assistance from organizations such as Cape Nature and the World Wildlife Foundation provide our producers with cutting edge water preservation techniques.
- The agricultural-science techniques utilized for variety selection takes factors such as water consumption, yield and economic value into account.
- All Stems Fruit growers are committed to SHERPA, an integrated on-line management system, by Blue North specifically designed to support & empower business owners and managers in the development and implementation of proactive, relevant and impactful sustainability strategies for their businesses.
- All Stems Fruit growers complete a Self-Questionnaire regarding their company’s position on social, environmental and financial sustainability, guiding senior management and farm owners through a step-by-step action plan.
- The SHERPA system acts as a standard bearer for the industry, showcasing each production unit’s progress through visual graphs that can easily be shared with our customers.
- Stems fiercely uphold a transparent culture and this policy is exemplified through our protocols regarding Sustainability and Food Safety.
The Stems Fruit business and socio-economic philosophy is directly correlated with our own sustainability strategy and that of our elite grower base.