Filed under: Coop, Fair Trade, Organic Food | Tags: Coop, Cooperative, Democracy, Democratic, Fair Trade, Work, Workplace
Posted by Ian Hussey
The following is an excerpt from a press release dated April 24, 2008. Yet another example of why many activists look at La Siembra Co-operative and say, “that’s what Fair Trade should be.” La Siembra sells premium Cocoa Camino products. I enjoy a mug of their Fair Trade and organic chili and spice hot chocolate almost every day. I likes it spicy!
Ottawa-Gatineau’s La Siembra Co-operative is thrilled to announce that it is one of four Canadian companies to win WorldBlu’s “Worldwide Award for the Most Democratic Workplaces”.
WorldBlu, Inc., based in Atlanta, Georgia, specializes in organizational democracy and awards companies such as La Siembra a spot on the List of Most Democratic Workplaces after a rigorous survey process. WorldBlu developed the survey tool based on a decade of research into what makes a world-class democratic organization.
“The WorldBlu List seeks to shine a spotlight on the companies pioneering the next generation of business,” says WorldBlu Founder and CEO, Traci Fenton. “The organizations that practise democracy in the workplace are creating the businesses of the future and will ultimately build a more sustainable and democratic world.”
La Siembra Co-operative is the largest producer of Fair Trade Certified organic cocoa and sugar products in Canada and a pioneer of Fair Trade chocolate and sugar products in North America. The company is owned by its workers, who invest in the co-op financially and participate in its democratic governance. Worker-owners (currently 83% of total employees) each have a vote in key organizational decisions, including the election of Directors to the Board, which is composed uniquely of worker-owners. La Siembra is led by a top management team of two Co-Executive Directors, ensuring consensus-building at all levels of the organization, and worker-owners invest 5% of their modest gross salaries in the co-operative every pay period.
According to La Siembra’s Co-Executive Director Martin Van Den Borre, “We are a mission-based Fair Trade business. We believe in fair, democratic employment for all – both our worker-owners at La Siembra and the producer co-operatives we source our ingredients from. To this end, we work in close partnership with cocoa and sugar farmers in South America, Central America and the Caribbean and employ the same democratic, participatory and transparent model as our producer partners overseas.”
La Siembra’s Seven Co-operative Guiding Principles are: Fair Trade, healthy communities, inter co-operation, open membership, democratic control, economic participation and independence.
Founded in 2003, WorldBlu works with CEOs and executive teams to design, develop, and lead the most successful democratic companies in the world.
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