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Fair Palmleaf Production

What is better than a reliable producer? One that also treats its employees fairly! With the company Magnus Eco Concepts (MEC) we‘ve found such a partner! MEC not only delivers exceptional quality, but also provides exceptional benefits for its employees. Find out more about the origin of our palmware and its fair production.

Partners become friends - the beginnings

The idea of using leaves as plates isn’t new. In South India it has been a tradition for centuries to serve food on banana leaves on special occasions and festivals. The brothers Satheesh and Nandha Kumar took over this tradition and built up a business from it. Growing up in Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India, they were very familiar with the local conditions and the fauna. Thanks to their professional background, the studied mechanical engineer and textile technician were able to develop their first own machine in 2003 to process local leaves. The principle is simple: fallen leaves of the Areka palm lying on the ground are collected, washed and processed into plates and bowls using hydraulic presses. The foundation stone for the ecobiopack-Palmware® was laid. Find out more about the Palmware® production in our palm leaf article.

Eight years later, in 2011, Robert Czichos, founder and managing director of ecobiopack/greenbox Bionatic, came across the producer of palm leaf tableware by a lucky coincidence on a trading platform on the internet. After a few e-mails, the first 20-foot container with plates made of palm leaves was ordered - with prepayment and without ever really getting to know each other. The trust placed in us was immediately given back with the best quality of goods that ecobiopack Bionatic has ever held in its hands. This was the beginning of a special partnership.

Social Entrepreneurship at its best

Top quality, clearly defined processes and modern production machines are one thing. But what‘s really inspiring is the social responsibility that the palm leaf producers take on. The working conditions of the - mainly female - employees on site, play a major role in this. In a country where women enjoy far fewer rights than men, this cannot be taken for granted.

To ensure that their employees get to work and back home safely, MEC organised their own transport. Satheesh and Nandha bought a bus and hired a driver to pick up the workers every morning and bring them back home at the end of their shift. Free of charge.

On a piece of land on the factory site, the Kumar brothers also operate “natural farming” with some employees. They plant seeds for fruits and vegetables and leave the rest to nature. The income is given to the employees. There is no fixed price for the fresh food: each employee gives what he or she thinks is appropriate.

Natural Farming Projekt
Mitarbeiter Magnus Eco Concepts

Free childcare

Kids are also highly valued at MEC. A teak tree is planted for every child of a long term employee. The company looks after the tree and cuts it down after 15 years. The proceeds from the wood sold are used to finance the child's education.

Speaking of trees: we offset all CO2 emissions of our products. In the state of Tamil Nadu, where our palmware is also produced, we reforest tropical forests. You can read more about this topic in our article about CO2 compensation.

MEC now employs 180 men and women. Many of them cannot always guarantee the care of the children during the day. In order to remedy this situation, a free day care centre for children was built on the factory premises in 2018. Since then, two employees have been looking after the children.

Kostenlose Kinderbetreuung auf dem Firmengelände
Die Kindergarten Gruppe

Fair and safe working conditions

The working conditions also correspond to the progressive mindset of the two brothers. Work is done in eight-hour shifts six days a week. The hourly wages are above the usual average. Overtime is paid double. Paid holidays and health insurance are foreign words for other Indian employers. Not for MEC.

Satheesh and Nandha do not make any compromises when it comes to occupational safety either. Regular training in the safe use of the machines and how to behave in emergencies is part of the programme, as well as appropriate work equipment and unannounced fire alarm drills.

Qualified and audited

Qualified and auditedRegulated working hours, fair pay, safe working conditions and a comprehensive social package? All this sounds almost too good to be true.

During our annual visits, however, we are always able to see for ourselves the exemplary conditions that prevail at MEC's production facility. In order to confirm our word, audits are carried out at MEC at regular intervals by independent testing facilities. The last BSCI-Audit (for guaranteeing fair working conditions, among other things) MEC passed with flying colours.

When asked what makes him proud of MEC's development, Satheesh gives a clear answer: "As a regular employee I could only feed my family. Through the company I can now support 180 families".

In germany, employee benefits like MEC has, are not the norm. In a developing country like India they are even more exceptional. And that's why we think: One can be proud of these fair conditions!

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