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WORLDWIDE RESPONSIBILITY News

Green boxes in action: A live report

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Berlin, 5 February 2010, 6:00 pm – As the doors of the exhibition halls close behind the last departing trade visitors, our work as volunteers for the “Berliner Tafel” – the Food Bank in Berlin – begins. Some 350 helpers wearing green IFCO vests storm into the deserted halls where Fruit Logistica, the world's leading fresh produce trade show, was in full swing just a few hours earlier. Our job is to collect the fruit and vegetables used at the event for decorative and product information purposes and help distribute this food to the needy in Berlin.

Sparked by enthusiasm, we spread out in groups of up to 30 people in search of fresh food products. We use ladders to reach the pineapples stacked on shelves reaching up to the ceiling and climb up on bar tables to pick the apples from artificial trees or pull heads of cabbage off of long poles.

Not only the 20 children taking part in the action find the exhibition halls to be an adventurous place to discover exotic treasures. The atmosphere is almost like Christmas morning. Laughter can be heard echoing through the cavernous halls as the first green containers are unfolded, filled, and stacked up high ready to be taken to the loading dock.

In the spaciousness of the exhibition halls, what initially appeared to be a relatively meager yield turned out to be a real cornucopia as the 150 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables were loaded into the green IFCO containers. It's an amazing sight to see the plastic containers pulled off the stacks in rapid succession, unfolded, and filled with nutritious food.

Everyone felt a sense of relief when IFCO delivered the 3,500 containers needed for this project right on time and at no cost. The containers make handling much easier and the work goes a lot faster.

"The green containers definitely make our job easier," explains one of the volunteer workers. "They can be stacked to any height and are much sturdier and easier to handle than the cardboard banana cartons we used in the past years."

Time is running. Everything has to be out by 9:00 pm. That's when the crews come in to dismantle the exhibition stands. We're proud of our accomplishment. We collected 150 tons of top-quality fruit and vegetables – enough to fill 29 trucks!

Next stop is the sorting station:

Saturday, 6 February 2010, 10:00 am. The sorting process was started during the night so that perishable products could be loaded up and distributed immediately. Now it's time to break down into smaller groups and inspect each container and separate the "good from the bad".

The pace is hectic – after all, this is a huge amount of fresh produce. Mrs. Werth, President of the Food Bank in Berlin is assigned to the tropical fruit section. The varieties range from snake fruit to passion fruit and other exotics most people have never seen before. This is what makes Fruit Logistica so special. Many of the products are relatively expensive, which means they are a special treat for Berlin's needy. The variety presented at the trade show – not to mention the quantity – cannot be found in any supermarket.

"We are proud of the fact that we managed to match last year's results. The dedication shown by the volunteers is amazing. Some of them have been involved for many years. For others, the trade show action is like an event attended by their friends and family," says Mrs. Werth. "The reusable containers make our work much easier and we are happy that IFCO provided us with a sustainable, environment friendly logistics solution."

During the week, the products from the trade show will be supplied to 300 social projects along with three restaurants for needy children and 45 distribution points.

The efforts of the Food Bank in Berlin with their green containers will remain as a model for us. It's nice to know that we could help.

 

3,500 reusable containers for the Food Bank in Berlin

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IFCO introduced its Worldwide Responsibility initiative last year (Fruchthandel Magazine reported). Part of the project involves supporting the Food Banks in Germany by supplying them with reusable plastic containers and providing co-financing for delivery vehicles. A framework agreement was signed with the federal association of Food Banks. Fruchthandel Magazine spoke with Sabine Werth, Director of the Food Bank in Berlin, the “Berliner Tafel e.V.”, and Karl Pohler, CEO, IFCO.

Fruchthandel Magazine: The first concrete steps in the project have been taken and plans are being made to work with the Food Bank in Berlin.

Karl Pohler: We have already started working with the Food Bank in Berlin – the “Berliner Tafel”. In conjunction with this year's Fruit Logistica, and as a kick-off for our project, we supplied the Food Bank with IFCO reusable plastic containers to collect the food left over from the trade show.

Along with this special action, Berlin will serve as the testing grounds for deployment of our reusable containers. We are planning to conduct a pilot project in cooperation with the Berlin Food Bank. Our aim is to get a clear picture of how our expertise and IFCO reusable containers can be optimally integrated into the workflow of a charitable organization like the Food Banks.

Sabine Werth: We at the “Berliner Tafel” are very pleased to receive the 3,500 'green boxes' from IFCO. Last year, we collected 150 tons of fresh food from exhibitors at Fruit Logistica and distributed this food to the needy in Berlin.

Supplying our Food Bank with reusable containers will significantly reduce our expenditures for transport and

 

IFCO supports apples for schoolchildren campaign in Hungary

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With assistance from IFCO Austria, 3,000 tons of apples were provided to 30,000 Hungarian schoolchildren in the first half of 2010. IFCO supported this program by supplying 2,000 reusable containers free of charge in cooperation with the packing company Havita-TÉSZ.

Initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Union, the apples for schoolchildren campaign aims at promoting the health of youngsters by providing free apples each day for all primary school-age children in Hungary. The program has been remarkably successful. Thanks to the efforts of IFCO and other sponsors, more than 2.7 million apples were distributed to Hungarian schools in the first six months of 2010.

 

Worldwide Responsibility

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Despite the global economic crisis, IFCO is looking back at an extraordinarily positive development in the reusable packaging sector in 2009. In the first nine months, global sales increased by more than eight percent. At the same time, we heard that you have been talking about changes. Can you explain the reasons why and tell us about what lies ahead?

Karl Pohler: Indeed, because we are looking back on a successful year and everyone else is talking about the current crisis, we want to take this opportunity to launch new projects and set an example. If we are going to make a move, then we need to do it now because we're in the right position to do so.

Fruchthandel-Magazine: That sounds logical, but exactly what projects are you talking about?

K. Pohler: IFCO has launched an initiative called "Worldwide Responsibility" in which we not only assume environmental and social responsibility as we have in the past. We are taking this a step further and working in cooperation with strong partners.

FH-Magazine: What does "Worldwide Responsibility" mean? Are you assuming responsibility for the whole world?

K. Pohler: Of course not. But IFCO operates on a global scale and has set its own standards to act responsibly in every possible way. It is the duty of every individual to assume his or her share of responsibility for the world, today and tomorrow. As the world's market leader, worldwide responsibility involves looking beyond the economic objectives and assuming moral and environmental accountability on a global scale. It also means actively initiating projects that meet our high standards and sustainably improve our business world in the interests of humankind and the environment.

FH-Magazine: That sound's good. But what does it mean specifically? After all, many people are talking about responsibility.

K. Pohler: We don't want to just talk about it. We want to take action. That's why our initiative goes hand in hand with a very specific project. We are planning to support food banks around the world. Here in Germany they're called "Die Tafeln." In Spain they are known as "Los Bancos de Alimentos." This support is not only on a financial level. First and foremost we are providing assistance by contributing our knowledge and years of experience. And before you ask the next question: This specifically means that we are planning to work together with strong partners from the business world and with non-profit organizations to support the food banks. This will be done by co-financing delivery vehicles and providing reusable packaging solutions. Our vision is to supply food banks worldwide with reusable containers and integrate these organizations into the efficient, and environment-friendly cycle of reusable packaging.

FH-Magazine: I can see that your ideas have already started to take shape and you have a very clear plan for implementing them. How did you come upon the idea of supporting the food banks? Although they play an important role in society today, not many people are aware of them.

K. Pohler: For many years, our prime quality standard has been to maintain close proximity to our customers and thus, to transported goods. As you mentioned, food banks play an important role when it comes to food logistics for the needy. We became aware of how cost-intensive and problematic it is for these non-profit organizations to dispose of used, non-returnable packaging. It's hard to imagine the volume of waste accumulated each day.

FH-Magazine: As the world market leader in reusable packaging systems, you must know what you're talking about. In other words, the advantage for the food banks is that, by cooperating with IFCO, they can prevent waste?

K. Pohler: Yes, but not only that. As I mentioned, we want to integrate food banks into the reusable packaging cycle. They can turn over the containers to us for inspection and cleaning. Like all of our customers, the food banks can benefit from the durability and hygienic qualities of reusable packaging.

FH-Magazine: You spoke earlier about partners. Do you already have partners lined up for this ambitious project?

K. Pohler: Yes, we do. It wouldn't be possible to tackle this challenge without strong partners. We are delighted that Daimler AG, a supporter of the food banks in Germany for many years, is interested in our project. Our current plans with Daimler and the federal association of food banks in Germany call for a joint effort over the next five years. Of course, we are also looking for other partners to help us implement this project on a global scale. Something like this doesn't just happen over night. But we are certain that there is a way to turn our vision into reality.

FH-Magazine: The food banks concern all of us. After all, they supply "leftover" food to the needy in our society. Can I take part in your project as an individual person?

K. Pohler:Our goal is to inform people about the benefits of reusable packaging solutions for products and for the environment. At the same time, we want to encourage them to take part in our food bank project. With this in mind, we opened a new Internet portal in conjunction with our company websites. Beginning in December 2009, the web portal consolidates our commitment with that of our partners. The idea is to enable everyone who is interested to take part.

FH-Magazine: Can you tell us about the details?

K. Pohler: Our project will start off with a fundraising campaign on www.worldwide-responsibility.com. An interactive quiz on this website focuses on questions related to packaging products, logistics, and the many years of IFCO experience in these fields. For each quiz completed, IFCO will contribute USD 3.00 to help optimize the daily efforts of food banks. This support will come in the form of vehicle sponsoring or supplying reusable containers.

Fruchthandel Magazine, 51-52/2009, 19 Dec. 2009

 
IFCO supports Food Bank Kappeln with Vehicle Sponsoring

IFCO supports Food Bank Kappeln with Vehicle Sponsoring

Lottery at Fruit Logistica 2015

Lottery at Fruit Logistica 2015

IFCO donates 30,000€ to support food banks during Fruit Logistica 2015

IFCO donates 30,000€ to support food banks during Fruit Logistica 2015

IFCO’s combines its annual presence at Fruit Logistica with social engagement as part of their WORLDWIDE RESPONSIBILITY initiative, and once again supports the Berliner Tafel in their ‘clean up’ action.

IFCO’s combines its annual presence at Fruit Logistica with social engagement as part of their WORLDWIDE RESPONSIBILITY initiative, and once again supports the Berliner Tafel in their ‘clean up’ action.

WORLDWIDE RESPONSIBILITY supports food banks by co-sponsoring a refrigerated van and the donation of RPCs at the Tafel Federal Congress

WORLDWIDE RESPONSIBILITY supports food banks by co-sponsoring a refrigerated van and the donation of RPCs at the Tafel Federal Congress

IFCO supports Food Bank in Lauterbach with vehicle sponsoring

IFCO supports Food Bank in Lauterbach with vehicle sponsoring

IFCO supports Fundación Banco de Alimentos

IFCO supports Fundación Banco de Alimentos

Nürnberger Land Tafel and IFCO: long-term partnership under the banner of WORLDWIDE RESPONSIBILITY

Nürnberger Land Tafel and IFCO: long-term partnership under the banner of WORLDWIDE RESPONSIBILITY

IFCO SYSTEMS ESPAÑA supports Food Bank in Asturia

IFCO SYSTEMS ESPAÑA supports Food Bank in Asturia

IFCO supports the Munich Food Bank

IFCO supports the Munich Food Bank

IFCO Backs Feeding America San Diego Hunger Relief Initiatives with Reusable Plastic Containers

IFCO Backs Feeding America San Diego Hunger Relief Initiatives with Reusable Plastic Containers

IFCO supports the Banco Alimentare

IFCO supports the Banco Alimentare

IFCO’s Andy Beeching runs the Cambridge half marathon for the benefit of the Tower Hamlets Foodbank

IFCO’s Andy Beeching runs the Cambridge half marathon for the benefit of the Tower Hamlets Foodbank

€ 20,000 in donations for the Food Bank Berlin

€ 20,000 in donations for the Food Bank Berlin

IFCO supports the Tower Hamlets Foodbank

IFCO supports the Tower Hamlets Foodbank

IFCO sponsors the first cooling van for Spanish food bank Banco de Alimentos in Madrid

IFCO sponsors the first cooling van for Spanish food bank Banco de Alimentos in Madrid

IFCO Supports Foodshare with Reusable Plastic Containers

IFCO Supports Foodshare with Reusable Plastic Containers

IFCO enables the Wiener Tafel’s environmentally friendly transport of frozen food

IFCO enables the Wiener Tafel’s environmentally friendly transport of frozen food

Second Annual IFCO Charity Golf Invitational Supports National  and Local Charities

Second Annual IFCO Charity Golf Invitational Supports National and Local Charities

IFCO Supports North Texas Food Bank at United Fresh 2012

IFCO Supports North Texas Food Bank at United Fresh 2012

Behind the Curtain at Fruit Logistica

Behind the Curtain at Fruit Logistica

In the Shadows of Wealth

In the Shadows of Wealth

The Collaboration of IFCO Systems Spain and the Food Bank of Madrid

The Collaboration of IFCO Systems Spain and the Food Bank of Madrid

The "Green" Food Collection of the French Food Bank

The "Green" Food Collection of the French Food Bank

Berliner Morgenpost

Berliner Morgenpost

IFCO Partners with Forgotten Harvest in Fight Against Hunger

IFCO Partners with Forgotten Harvest in Fight Against Hunger

IFCO supports Ryan Palmer Foundation

IFCO supports Ryan Palmer Foundation

IFCO expands its Food Bank support

IFCO expands its Food Bank support

IFCO sponsoring delights at the 2011 Tafel Federal Congress in Kassel

IFCO sponsoring delights at the 2011 Tafel Federal Congress in Kassel

2011 IFCO Charity Golf Invitational

2011 IFCO Charity Golf Invitational