The history and the mission of Co.ind are proof that from its origin the spirit which animates our Group has an ethical dimension, and that this has inspired the company to active social commitment.
Perhaps due to its origins as a Cooperative – which later evolved into a Group and not a multi-division enterprise – Co.ind distinguished itself from the start for its social commitment, and has done ever since.
It has always worked to ensure the protection of consumers and the environment, workers’ rights and fair trade.
Social commitment: consumers and the environment
End users – i.e. Consumers, – are protected by the Group, because all production processes follow meticulous and rigorous procedures.
Proof is provided by the UNI EN ISO 9001 certificate, aimed at ensuring a strict and scrupulous control of all company processes: this means that the needs and interests of client companies, and consequently consumers, are always respected.
Suffice it to say that, in the field of coffee alone, more than 11,000 checks are carried out, starting right from its countries of origin, where the raw coffee beans are selected. There Co.ind’s experts analyse and select only the best coffee beans, to guarantee, always, the highest quality to its distributor clients and to those who every day drink a Co.ind brand coffee.
Nature and the environment have always been at the centre of Co.ind’s cares, and every year it does its best to further reduce the environmental impact of its production.
In particular, the Group has continuously shown itself to be passionately sensitive about the issue of reducing and homogenising packaging materials, in 2000 receiving the prestigious “Packaging Oscar” from the Istituto Italiano Imballaggio.
This contest, launched back in 1957, aims to reward the best packaging concepts designed or marketed in Italy. Generally the themes on which the awards are based are, in rotation, “Technical and Technological Innovation”, “Quality Design” and “The Environment”.
In the case of Co.ind the prize was awarded for the environmental category, where it developed the idea of replacing the plastic wrapping on multipack ground coffee lines with adhesive tape. Extremely simple, but with a strong impact on the environment and the amount of plastic produced.
This suggestion led to a weight reduction of about 3 grammes for each pack of coffee in the two-pack format, and of about 6 grammes for the four-pack format, saving many tons of plastic packaging materials every year.
Social responsibility and ethics: Workers’ Rights
Workers’ rights are respected both for employees of Co.ind and its suppliers, through our adherence to the relevant international certification standards.
Co.ind conforms with the principles of SA 8000 (Social Accountability), the international standard that aims to ensure that companies and production chains treat their workers according to ethical principles.
SA8000 is an important certificate that was established because – given current global economic trends – it is vital that companies commit themselves to respecting human rights, protecting minors against exploitation, respecting the rights of employees, and guaranteeing safety and healthiness in the workplace.
SA8000 indicates that the social requirements it establishes are also important because they increase the competitive capacity of the companies that, in a voluntary manner, ensure the ethical nature of their production chain and production cycle. Adherence to these principles has positive effects in integrating companies with local contexts, both at European and international level.
The Safety and Health of Workers is guaranteed and certified by OHSAS 18001: 2007 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series): this certification demonstrates that risk control is monitored and that an increase in workplace safety and health is assured.
For Co.ind, the management system regulated by the OHSAS standard is integrated with the environmental management system inspired by the 14001 standard: safety and environmental awareness are closely connected.
UNI EN ISO 14001 certification effectively defines how an efficient Environmental Management System must be implemented, in order to minimise the environmental impact of a company’s processes, products and services, an aspect which for Co.ind is a major priority.
Fair trade & Commercial Solidarity
Fairtrade and UTZ certifications prove that the rights of producers and workers in developing countries are being respected, through stable fair prices and solidarity margins.
Co.ind is a Fair Trade partner because it passionately supports the principles of fair trade, and every day works to implement its key goals, which revolve mainly around the concept of producers and growers receiving dignified salaries.
In particular, Co.ind undertakes to pay a fair price to producers in order to guarantee decent wages – while also leaving possible margins for social or productive investments – but also market sustainability. A price is considered fair only when it is the result of dialogue and participation and is also considered as socially acceptable remuneration in its specific local context.
The Group also agrees to make advance payments (pre-financing) for workers’ purchases, to help them avoid usury borrowing. In this way can avoid getting into debt and, at the same time, take full advantage of fair price policies.
The company also commits itself to long-term commercial relationships with the producers, in order to guarantee them a more predictable financial future.
Co.ind is also UTZ Certified, a worldwide certification program that develops and sets standards for socially and environmentally responsible agricultural production and commerce. The UTZ Certified programme makes it possible to maintain product traceability, thus providing information on raw material origins.
Adherence to this programme requires farmers to respect specific codes of conduct and also to implement a documented management system. For Co.ind – and for its consumers – the advantage of this certificate lies in demonstrating, in a clear and simple way, that a product’s creation has respected environmental and ethical sustainability, becoming a morally “sensitive product”.
Co.ind is the largest Italian producer of fair trade coffee for private label client companies (more than 12,000 tons per year), supplying some of the largest supermarket brands, including Coop and Conad.
The Co.ind co-operative project in Nicaragua
One major initiative to which Co.ind is particularly committed is the “Nicaragua project“, undertaken together with the Coop chain and the Non-Governmental Organization GVC (Civil Volunteer Group).
Active since 2002, the aim of this programme is to boost the economic and social development of a particularly problematic area of Nicaragua: Santa Maria de Pantasma, in the department of Jinoteca. It contains almost 40,000 inhabitants, of which 84% live in rural areas.
It also contains a remarkable amount of coffee plantations of outstanding quality, some of which boast quite advanced technical facilities. Nicaragua lies in twelfth place for coffee production on the American continent, and coffee accounts for about 30% of its total food exports. However, it suffers from considerable political instability: so statistics fluctuate and coffee production is not always regular.
GVC and Co.ind have therefore invested structures and capital in this area, in order to support its development and its inhabitants by stabilising production and respecting Fair Trade principles in their dealings with local producers. Co.ind is committed to doing its best to ensure that growers in the area have ample market opportunities, committing itself to purchasing large amounts of its coffee production every year for this reason.
Coffee from beans obtained from this project has been sold in Italy for numerous years now, in Coop brand supermarkets and in various bars. Co.ind thus offers consumers the pleasure of a quality product, certified Fairtrade (or Fair Trade), contributing to the development and quality of life of one of the poorest regions in the world. Find out more on the caffesolidal.it website.