Social Responsibility

Our passion for creating the highest quality product goes hand in hand with BALSU’s principles of social responsibility. We have a set of guidelines embedded in our company’s DNA that represent our dedication to the people we serve and work with, the communities in which we operate and to the planet to which we belong.

Responsibly Sourced Hazelnuts

Giving social responsibilities precedence over financial goals, BALSU is committed to fulfilling all of its duties by offering the clients products of the highest quality and freshness. Meanwhile it is ensured that raw materials are responsibly sourced and the environmental impact is minimized through innovative and good agricultural practices. Furthermore, local communities are developed through numerous projects undertaken in collaboration with the relevant ministries, local and international NGOs, universities and other stakeholders.

Sustainability

BALSU takes a multi-sided approach to driving sustainability in the supply chain by promoting social, economic and environmental sustainability, product traceability, and occupational health and safety measures. We are committed to working with suppliers that support our principles of social responsibility through continuous improvement.

In accordance with our mission to develop local villages socially, economically and culturally, we initiate various training programs for farmers. We provide education on good agricultural practices to sustainably increase yield, quality and income, and encourage ethical recruitment processes in the field level.

In A Nutshell

With the conviction that every child should be protected from any form of exploitation, our Founder have established “Genç Hayat Vakfı” (Young Lives Foundation) even back in 2008 to tackle the root causes of child labour in Turkey. Through the foundation’s “In A Nutshell” project we opened summer schools that improve children academically, as well as socially to prevent them from working in hazelnut gardens. Keeping in mind that 1 out of every 2 child workers drops out of school completely, we provide the children in our project with financial aid for each school year whilst tracking their attendance in order to maintain their academic development. We also provide them food, school supplies, and hygienic product aid packages.

We support the abolition of the exploitation of child labour, forced labour and coercive labour throughout our entire production chain. We do this through legal means, close ties with local communities and regular monitoring of suppliers, aiming to act as a sustainable development engine for these local communities.

Research tells us that “safe spaces” are among the top interventions in supporting children in harvest communities and in reducing the risks around child labour. For these, we have updated our model for it to be replicated and scaled up to reach greater number of children in the supply chain. Through our collaborations on the summer schools’ program, we provided access to education for the “2,152” children of workers during between 2014 and 2020. Over 10,000 thousand farmers and hazelnut workers received trainings.

A More Sustainable Supply Chain

We carried out activities in the Black Sea and Southeast regions to enhance the transparency of our supply chain. Also, we have communicated our company standards on labor rights to various stakeholder groups between 2016 – 2018 through USDOL project.

  • 219 Labor contractors mapped
  • 89 Labor contractors registered
  • 256 Community members
  • 139 Government officials trained
  • 123 Teachers trained

While addressing systemic issues like child labour that requires a multi-stakeholder approach, we partner with the government, the industry, our clients, NGOs and academia; we develop supply chain trainings; promote community capacity building and investment in order to:

  • Protect human and children rights
  • Sustainably increase crop and yield
  • Preserve the environment

Verification and Continuous Progress

BALSU is a Rainforest member since 2014. Every Rainforest certified product is grown in accordance with the Code of Conduct, which sets guidelines for better farming methods and working conditions, as well as better care for nature and for future generations. To ensure compliance with the Code, all producers are subjected to a regular check by independent auditors. Upon approval farmers are granted a certification, which means they can sell their products as Rainforest certified, and all sales are recorded in the Rainforest certified traceability systems. The Code of Conduct is based on a model of continuous improvement.

BALSU is affiliated with the Fair Labour Association since 2013. As being an affiliated supplier in the FLA’s program, we believe that all goods should be produced fairly, ethically and industries should find sustainable solutions to systemic labour issues. Since 1999, FLA has helped improve workers' lives by holding affiliated companies accountable for implementing FLA’s Code of Conduct across their supply chains. We conduct annual third party internal and external assessments as part of the FLA affiliation program, so that our customers can be assured of the integrity of the protducts they buy.

We certify farmers under the Turkish Good Agriculture Practices standards and requirements in terms of hazelnut safety, quality, environmental management and workers’ health and safety with the Turkish GAP certification provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest since 2016. Good Agricultural Practices are a form of agricultural production aimed at manufacturing an environment, human and animal health friendly agricultural product. The product must also adhere to the protection of natural resources, traceability in agriculture, sustainability and food safety regulations farmers receive state supported grants per hectar.

A Few of Our Projects

Sustainability Newsletters

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