Agri Resources Group is an international agricultural company operating in Africa, Europe and the Indian Ocean. In 2021, the company issued the first-of-its-kind sustainability bond in Africa, targeting the sustainable management of land and natural resource, as well as socio-economic development.
AFRIMAG: What are the main axes of your impact strategy?
Frédéric Dalmasie: Today, the main activities of Agri Resources Group include the cultivation, supply, processing and trading of agricultural products. We are present in 12 countries, employing a team of more than 500 people and we are responsible for more than 130,000ha of land as well as 5 processing units.
Our goal is to contribute to local agricultural development in a responsible manner that respects the rights of all, while minimizing our footprint on the environment.
To achieve this, we are committed to ensuring the best social and environmental practices as well as governance applicable to all of our managed assets.
These commitments are governed by a specific framework (Sustainable Finance Framework) validated by our shareholders and audited by Moody’s group.
I see the silver lining of our impact strategy in our mission to bring end consumers closer to producers or production areas. This is the basis for creating value that is equally and fairly shared, and what makes it possible to create jobs and opportunities for our local partners.
What is your funding strategy for your activities?
We mainly work with financial partners who share our values and commitments cited in our Sustainable Finance Framework.
In March 2021, Agri Resources Group successfully placed a sustainability bond (Agri Resources Group Sustainability Bond at 8.00% for a volume of 40.0 million euros.)
This Sustainability Bond 2021/2026 has been admitted to trading on the Open Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
We have put in place a process to select projects eligible for financing with the obligation described in our sustainable financing framework. Projects must obviously be financially viable, but beyond the creation of economic value, we take into account their ability to contribute to the sustainable management of natural resources and land use as well as socioeconomic progress.
Since then, the funds raised have been gradually invested in the further development of Agri Resources Group’s sustainable activities in West African and the Indian Ocean regions in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for traceable agricultural products such as vanilla.
What is your recent news?
At the end of June 2022, we allocated more than 50% of our Bond, which enabled significant developments described in our half-year bond report, available on our website www.agri-resources.com, but also very recently, the results of our efforts became even more evident with a strategic expansion of the Vanilla and Spices division into the Indian Ocean.
In July 2022, barely a year after the creation of our Agri Resources Benin subsidiary, the teams finalized the signing of a 50,000 ha concession for agroforestry in a natural park in Benin, which positions us as the one of the only agricultural companies capable of accessing and properly managing such a natural resource.
What partnership arrangements do you favor in the context of this approach?
In the approach to sustainability, we strive to integrate demanding extra-financial factors, in the area of:
We collaborate with key international business and institutional partners, to ensure the highest standards of governance, safety and sustainable sourcing of ingredients;
Beyond our ethical commitment to minimizing our footprint, we believe that the preservation of the environment is essential for the long-term well-being of our industry and the quality of our products.
We, therefore, focus our efforts on:
- Responsible management of agricultural land by preserving the residual forests, implementing agroforestry, rotational production and use of regenerative crops.
- Incentive programs for the adoption of good agricultural practices by local farmers.
- The establishment of management systems addressing social and environmental risks, in particular the traceability of vanilla in Madagascar.
We operate in underdeveloped areas and recognize that our business has an important role to play in driving positive change for our employees, suppliers and local communities. We are therefore committed to promoting a sustainable future for all through:
- The creation of quality job opportunities and the prioritization of local hiring and the promotion of local leadership;
- Agronomic training and education of farming communities;
- Investing in income-generating activities for farming communities such as market access, local processing and opportunities for production diversification;
- Partnerships for success, such as synergies with R-Logitech, a subsidiary of our parent group Monaco Resources Group, which is one of the main providers of port infrastructure and logistics in Africa, facilitating access to key markets.
What is the outlook for Agri Resources Group?
Our investment strategy which integrates ESG factors, supported by the continued expansion of our activities, as well as the good financial performance of the first half of 2022, makes us even more confident for the future.
The geopolitical situation makes Agri Resources Group projects around food security even more necessary and this is reflected in the quality of financial support.
By James Ramarosaona, Correspondent – Madagascar