At Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Chris Flowers, managing director of Kenyan avocado company Kakuzi, promised no let-up in the company’s efforts to ensure ”robust and sound” environmental, social and governance standards

Kenyan avocado producer-exporter Kakuzi has announced continuing plans to bolster and enhance the firm’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards, while calling for sustained national compliance and branding to maintain global competitiveness.

KEPHIS Phytosanitary Services General Manager Dr Isaac Macharia and Kakuzi Plc Managing Director Chris Flowers at the Kakuzi Avocado Packhouse

Chris Flowers (right) with Kephis Phytosanitary Services general manager Dr Isaac Macharia

Speaking at the Fruit Logistica exhibition in Berlin, Kakuzi MD Chris Flowers said ESG compliance continued to be a point of concern among international fresh produce buyers. Failure to adhere to ESG standards, he said, would be counterproductive to ongoing efforts to enhance the value of Kenya’s agricultural exports.

According to Flowers, sustained national compliance to ESG standards would necessitate joint engagements, as well as capacity-building among local stakeholders, especially those concentrated on export-led agribusiness ventures.

In order to maintain national competitiveness, he said, upholding ESG standards should be prioritised to make sure all agribusiness firms adhered to global sustainable benchmarks monitored by international buyers.

“For this reason, even as we advance our farm-to-table quality standards, we are reiterating Kakuzi’s commitment to continue maintaining robust and sound ESG standards,” said Flowers, “including capacity-building for our smallholder farmer partners to enable us to secure the social licence to trade and operate.

“Commitment to ESG standards has slowly evolved from a voluntary practice to a national and international concern. It is not just about growing an avocado, macadamia, blueberry or any other fruit for export. It is how you grow it, and ESG is not a nice thing to have; it is a stakeholder concern that must be firmly embraced as a national branding pillar in the sense that Kenya is a country which understands our responsibility to the causes of climate action, water stewardship and being able to demonstrate that we do the right things as part and parcel of our daily lives.”