Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, Marriott International, Avendra, and Walmart to Launch Local Sourcing Assessment in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – At a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery hosted by President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) announced a commitment to launch an assessment in Puerto Rico that would evaluate feasibility to increase sourcing from local farmers, connecting new customers and improving incomes for farmers in the region. Marriott International, Avendra, and Walmart have already committed as partners for this project, supporting the assessment and committing to source products meeting quality and price standards once the pilot has begun.
The commitment aims to provide a boost to Puerto Rico’s agricultural sector after Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017. In recent years, the agricultural sector has been growing at a 3 to 5 percent rate annually – however, Hurricane Maria impacted approximately 80 percent of the island’s crop value and caused estimated losses to crop, livestock production and infrastructure of more than $2 billion. Before Hurricane Maria, 85 percent of Puerto Rico’s food was imported – since Maria that figure has jumped to 95 percent.
This assessment will chart agricultural capacity across the island, identifying both potential crops that could be sourced, tropical fruits like watermelon and pineapple, and companies that can serve as buyers for these products. Following research and feasibility analysis, CGEP will work to establish a social business that will purchase these crops and source them to buyers – creating new demand and higher income for smallholder farmers on the island.
CGEP, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, brings twelve years of building social businesses, including supply chain building in the agricultural sector. “Our social businesses have had significant positive impacts on the lives of farmers in El Salvador, Colombia, and Haiti,” said Frank Giustra, co-founder of CGEP. “I am excited to see our successful model being assessed for other regions, like Puerto Rico, where I hope we can help bridge the gap between farmers and buyers.”
Steve Contos, Senior Vice President, Caribbean and Luxury Portfolio Caribbean and Latin America for Marriott International added: “We’re proud to support Puerto Rico’s farmers and these efforts, and our partnership with CGEP reinforces our longstanding commitment to the island and to empowering the local community. Marriott’s sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360, also aligns with this project and our global goal to locally source 50 percent of our produce, in aggregate, by 2025. It’s a win-win.”
“We are excited to be a part of this CGEP effort and see it as a foundational building block toward a better supply chain in this region, “said Patrick Poncet, Vice President, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, Avendra. “As a leading procurement and supply chain services company, this initiative provides us an opportunity to lend our expertise and collaborate with key stakeholders across the value chain to deliver a locally-focused, effective solution.”
Walmart brings both support and years of experience working with a network of local farmers to the partnership. “We are very pleased to be part of CGEP’s efforts because our commitment of more than 25 years to Puerto Rico and the well-being of its communities is directly related (aligned) to the organization’s objectives. Currently, Walmart Puerto Rico is working very hard to increase the annual million-dollar investment in products harvested on the Island to contribute to the development of the agricultural industry and, therefore, promote job creation and greater local economic activity,” said Iván Báez, Director Public Affairs & Government Relations.
The assessment and potential agribusiness will build on CGEP’s expertise in building social businesses that help smallholder farmers and fishers around the world, including in Haiti, El Salvador, and Colombia. In El Salvador for example, purchasing by partner buyers from local farmers has increased by over $7 million since the launch of CGEP social business in 2014. CGEP builds social businesses to generate social impact and financial returns by addressing market gaps in developing countries’ supply chains. Through this model, CGEP seeks to help people work themselves out of poverty.
The commitment was announced Wednesday, January 30 at the CGI Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, which brings together leaders from government, business, and civil society to make commitments to help communities impacted by the 2017 hurricane season. At the meeting, participants discussed the current recovery efforts in the region, progress to date, ongoing challenges, and made Commitments to Action – specific and measurable projects that address critical issues such as food security, access to healthcare, small business support, sustainable tourism, and renewable energy.
About the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership
The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) is a social business builder that brings entrepreneurial solutions to global poverty – building from scratch, investing start-up capital, and managing agribusinesses that work with smallholder farmers and fishers. CGEP’s agribusinesses provide sustainably-sourced, high-quality local products that meet buyers’ demand at competitive prices and help improve the livelihoods of farmers and farming communities by improving agricultural productivity, creating job opportunities, and facilitating long-term linkages to high-value markets.
About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,900 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 130 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.
About Sustainability and Social Impact at Marriott International
Marriott International embraces its global responsibility and unique opportunity to be a force for good. Guided by its sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, Marriott is committed to making a positive and sustainable impact wherever it does business. While integrating sustainability across its value chain and mitigating climate-related risk, the company is working to reduce environmental impacts, build and operate sustainable hotels, source responsibly, advance human rights, and create opportunities for the communities where we operate. To learn more about our efforts and our 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals, visit marriott.com/serve360 and follow @MarriottPOV on Twitter.
Avendra is North America’s leading hospitality procurement services provider. Our supply chain management solutions are tailored to our clients’ business strategies and deliver benefits beyond great savings. We combine years of procurement expertise, purchasing power, services and software to help customers impact the bottom line, improve operational performance, and better serve guests. Avendra is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland and has regional offices throughout North America.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 260 million customers and members visit our 11,535 stores under 72 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2016 revenue of $482.1 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy, and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.
Original press release