The Corporate Responsibility Committee of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce convened its 4th Sustainable Talks initiative, The Growth Collaborative, on May 17, 2019, at Stevia Hellas Cooperative in Lamia. Sustainable Talks is a series of single-subject discussions aiming to create a constructive dialogue platform on the integration of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the Greek business reality.
The event was a real step out of the ordinary, as the 50 participants had the chance to visit the stevia fields and discuss with farmers on the amazing potential presented by this valuable plant for the local society and the economy. Innovative business thinking, perpetual commitment to partnerships, diligent research and development and emotional care for the region and its people are the elements of a business model that generates value across every capital, tangible or not. But the greatest value of this cooperative is the role model drive for a sustainable future in the region and beyond.
Pakis Papademetriou, Chair of the CR Committee, addressed the opening of the event. It was noted that those bright entrepreneurial examples hold a multi-faceted significance, in terms of not only driving growth and prosperity in their respective regions but most importantly of setting role model practices for new entrepreneurs to follow.
Christos Stamatis, CEO of Stevia Hellas Cooperative, and an exemplary storyteller took us through the stevia journey. The success of the business thus far is unquestionable: Stevia Hellas is a recognized European leader and supplies 65% of the Greek market. Sustainability is built in the entire value chain: from pesticide-free production to purification to production with 100% European organic material. The prospects are even more impressive: along with their numerous partners – agrotech, academia, providers of capital – these persistent farmers are envisioning vertical production of new innovative products and added societal value generated for the region.
Stelios Theodoulidis, CEO of Venus Growers – Greece’s leading fruit exporter, a Veria-based cooperative with a bright 55-year history – focused on the interconnection between agro-business and all aspects of sustainability and how this can drive success in a fiercely competitive global market. He also commented on the critical parameters that make the next-generation cooperative enterprises succeed in a very difficult economic environment. First of all, it is the full and unconditional understanding of the fact that a cooperative enterprise must operate from start to finish as a business. Then there is a need for clear separation/distinction of roles and responsibilities between the elected administration and the management team.
Through awareness and sustainable practices, the American-HellenicChamber of Commerce supports a new collaborative economy in which stakeholders are joining forces in a fresh, innovative and truly sustainable vision for the future of a country that needs to revisit its grassroots. The event was hosted by Stevia Hellas Cooperative.
- May 17, 2019
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm