Atacama Tierra Fértil Program Recognized at International Sustainability Competition
SQM was recognized at the tenth version of the Premios Corresponsables (Co-responsible Awards), held in Spain. Since 2008 the mining company has organized and promoted diverse initiatives with communities near its operations framed within the concepts of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
With more than a decade in existence, the Atacama Tierra Fértil Program was honored in Europe for its contribution to the communities of Quillagua, San Pedro de Atacama, Toconao, Talabre, Camar and Socaire. In these towns, its multidisciplinary team of professionals has organized diverse agricultural projects alongside local residents, equipping them with innovative tools to optimize their crops and boost product sales and marketing.
The award was given by the foundation Fundación Corresponsables for SQM’s work since 2008. Over the life of the project, several social innovation projects have been launched in the Antofagasta Region, such as Ayllu, a high-altitude wine produced in the heart of the Salar de Atacama at more than 2,600 meters above sea level; a program to recover garlic production in the indigenous community of Santiago de Río Grande, which reversed the prior 80% crop loss from pests; the 1,000 m2 Quillagua hydroponic greenhouse, which is powered by non-conventional renewable energy fed by photovoltaic panels, among other initiatives.
In the Tarapacá Region, the Atacama Tierra Fértil Program works to strengthen farming in Pozo Almonte by participating in a working group for agricultural production development. This collaborative initiative brings together members from the Municipality of Pozo Almonte,the National Institute for Agricultural Development (INDAP), the Pozo Almonte Local Action Development Program (PRODESAL) and mining company Teck-Quebrada Blanca. These entities work together to support three local groups: Asociación Indígena Aymara Tierras de Jehová, Asociación Indígena Aymara Juventud del Desierto and Cooperativa Agrícola Nuevo Amanecer.
Representing SQM at the ceremony in Spain was Enrique Torras, Director of Production for the mining company.
Regarding the recognition, Pablo Pisani, Director of Communications, Sustainability and Public Affairs at SQM, explained, “We are very proud to have been honored at this important event–now in its tenth year–to recognize work being done by companies in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. As a company, we have different programs in place to benefit those living near our operations. Atacama Tierra Fértil is one of the longest running projects and has enabled us and the communities to achieve great results.”
In addition to this initiative representing Chile, numerous programs and projects from different companies and foundations in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela were also recognized.
Through this initiative, Fundación Corresponsables, the entity in charge of the awards, aims to become a spokesperson for corporate social responsibility for public or private organizations that positively impact the places and communities where they are located.
In this spirit, the Premios Corresponsables identify diverse programs in Ibero-America that reflect the best initiatives and good practices in CSR, sustainability and co-responsible communication.
As in prior years, to select the award winners, Fundación Corresponsables relies on support from a technical committee of more than 25 consultants that are experts in corporate social responsibility and sustainability within Ibero-America. This committee performs a detailed analysis of each of the 604 initiatives competing in the X Premios Corresponsables. The technical committee selected 77 finalists, while another 16 were chosen by social media users.
After that, a jury of 70 scholars from 10 countries, also experts in corporate social responsibility and sustainability, were charged with selecting the final awardees.
This tenth version of the awards could be followed on social media using the hashtag #XPremiosCorresponsables and via streaming, trending throughout Spain and attracting a large online audience in Latin America.