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Natura Iblea receives first prize in the Welfare index 2018

The Italian agriculture company with the highest level of company welfare is the Sicilian Natura Iblea, as the 2018 Report for the Welfare Index PMI, presented this morning at the "Salone delle fontane" in Rome shows. In fact, Natura Iblea is first in the category "Agriculture". In addition, Natura Iblea was named by the Report as a "Welfare Champion".

The Annual Report for the Welfare Index PMI is the most accurate survey on welfare in Italy. More than 4,000 companies joined the third edition and the evaluation criteria range from 1W to 5W; that is to say, the rating that measures the welfare activity of small and medium Italian companies in 6 different production sectors. The survey aims at giving value to the importance of welfare in the companies' daily life, of their workers and families, since a better welfare also means better productivity.

Natura Iblea is an entirely organic agriculture company that farms more than 150 hectares in Ispica, in the South-East of Sicily. The company is constantly engaged in technological research and development and exports its products to the rest of Europe, but it also created a "local project", Paniere Bio (Organic Basket), for the home delivery of fruit and vegetables, and opened Babbìo, an organic products shop in Modica, which also includes a food service and sharing space.

In 2017 Natura Iblea obtained 5W and a special mention for Social Integration, thanks to a great work carried out to make family reunifications of its foreign employees possible.

Last year's emotion and pride are now followed by a strong will to strengthen this commitment, acknowledged to the company by this extremely important first prize. The President of the company, Roberto Giadone, explains: "We've always thought that the attention to our workers is fundamental for the welfare of the entire company, which can grow if all its resources are valued, both territorial and human, thus contributing to the welfare of the community in which it operates. We've always worked towards staff loyalty and some of our employees have been working with us since the establishment of our company; in fact, it's no coincidence that the hourly output of kilograms worked is among the highest in our territory. Natura Iblea is most of all a place where the workers are treated well and find space for their present and their future."

Last year, after the initiatives for the family reunifications and the rest of the integration policies of the various ethnicities working in the company (for example with language courses and constant security training, housing and bureaucracy support), Natura Iblea launched another welfare programme: the establishment of scholarships for all the children of its employees. The initiative addresses students who are completing a study cycle, in order to encourage them to keep on studying and prevent the hateful cycle of school dropouts.

"I'm particularly moved – said Giadone today to the Roman audience – by the story of Erika, the daughter of two of our employees, who just graduated in Economics. For many years, her father was our warehouse manager and, because of a domestic accident, had to leave his job. We consequently hired his wife: all of Erikàs family, thus, has always been part of our company. We'll never forget her eyes when we gave her our scholarship in the presence of her parents. Knowing that a new generation has been and will be able to finish their studies also thanks to our help, immensely gratifies us."

But this was not the only initiative to help its employees carried out between 2017 and the beginning of 2018. "Another significant story for us concerns the warehouse's women workers", says Giadone: "The ladies asked us for a TV in the canteen… the management, instead, brought us a magazine!" In fact, we decided to invest in the membership of a magazine, Vanity Fair, that could give them some interesting inputs. This experiment was actually successful: the ladies, in fact, are now happy with our choice, because it allows them to have discussion topics about which they can talk all together, instead of secluding themselves while listening to the television."

Also significant is the commitment of Natura Iblea to the environment, a field in which the company has long since adopted a series of sustainability measures, such as the 200 Kwh photovoltaic system that, since 2011, has made the company completely independent as far as electric energy is concerned; the settling tanks for the production of 640 metric tons of improving, organic and natural land; the use of recycled plastic for the upholstery of our greenhouses and, since January 2018, a new station for the storage of primary and secondary sources and waste recycling.

Roberto Giadone, in conclusion, has always promoted legal policies in the treatment of the workers in the South-East of Sicily, which is often sadly known for its cases of exploitation and the illegal recruitment of workers. "We promoted and then realized, together with Confagricoltura Ragusa, a memorandum of understanding on legacy and on the treatment of workers that the members now have to follow; its violation, in fact, leads to immediate exclusion from the organization.

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