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Mayaguëz is a leading sugarcane business in Colombia with four main products: sugar, alcohol fuel, energy cogeneration, and compost. The process begins with the raw material, sugar cane, this is transformed into a variety of products such as sugar, electricity and ethanol. Aside from the business activities, Mayaguëz has been involved in social impact projects such as their own school. Such social responsibilities are integral to their business (Fundación Mayaguëz).
As explained in the interview, the majority of the innovation is in the processing of the raw material, the machinery used in production and the way that the sugar cane is cultivated. “New innovations such as the size of the tractor, the size and shape of the wheels, the size of the wagons, trucks that run on renewable fuels, and at the same time efficiency in the field work done by these machines have made all the processes faster, easier and more sustainable in the past few years. In terms of the production of our raw material, for the past 6 years, we have been on the plan to change our entire plantation to organic plantations both for our benefit and the environment.” This is a clear example of how an agriculture business, which has relied upon artificial fertilizers in the past as a means of growing the plants, is changing and becoming a positive impact on the environment.
The inspiration for this company came from the fact that there are not many agricultural businesses that are on the path toward innovation and becoming positive for the environment. By producing organic and spending the necessary capital, this company has been able to start on the path and achieve some important milestones. At the same time, the inspiration for the company came from the fact that they noticed that their solids were depleting and they needed to take action. Many other plantations in Columbia, not only of sugar cane, are taking similar steps and beginning to make a positive change both socially and environmentally. This is a step that agricultural businesses need to take.
Mayaguëz is positively impacting the community and the environment in numerous ways. They are impacting the community by supporting formal education for all grade and degree levels. They have partnered with different universities such as Universidad Icesi, Universidad Javeriana, and Pontifical Universidad Bolivarianao to provide careers within the agriculture industry. They also have an education program that is now accredited as further providing education for children in the surrounding communities. Mayaguëz places great importance on their environmental impacts and makes it their duty to have responsible environmental and social practices. For example, in our interview, Iragorri spoke about their alcohol-making process. He specifically spoke about the company using a special bio-fertilizer called Vinaza that comes from the distillation stage; if not handled properly, it can pollute the soil and water being used. In order to avoid this, they have created detailed, innovative practices that greatly lessen the risks of such events occurring. Furthermore, they have energy and fuel alternatives which makes them self-sustainable and have organic produce. Their innovative practices are not only helping them in the business realm but are impacting the community and the environment in a beneficial and safe manner.
The innovations that Mayaguëz implements have a number of benefits for the business as a whole. It is known as a leading sugarcane producer in Columbia and is doing extremely well economically. When dozens of international engineers visited Mayaguëz for a prestigious event, they stated that the company was “one of the most competitive in the world due to its efficiency and productivity” (Fundación Mayaguëz). When looking at the company’s financial statements, the 2022 net income YTD as of September 30, 2022, was $110,051,148,000 in Colombian pesos. When converting pesos to US dollars, the net income YTD comes to $22,779,377 (Fundacion Mayaguëz). Mayaguëz has shown significant growth from the prior year, as the net income more than doubled. As shown by their financial statements, they are an extremely successful company that is growing more and more each year.
There are a number of social and environmental benefits that result from Mayaguëz, especially stemming from their work in the community. They have made great efforts to “promote social programs, mainly in education and training, health, social integration and community development that seek to create value and well-being for local communities” (Fundación Mayaguëz). Mayaguëz is a big supporter of education and is committed to helping those in their community get access to primary, secondary, and higher education. Not only do they prioritize their community, but the company also ensures that their 1097 employees are treated with respect and equity.
Mayaguëz generates their own energy from the sugarcane they grow, and they produce electricity for their plant as well as the national network. The company is also committed to reducing greenhouse gasses by reducing the dependency on fossil fuels and instead using the sugarcane transformation process. As a result of their efforts, the company was given the BONSUCRO sustainability certification, which outlines their “compliance with labor rights, optimal management of raw materials, quality, safety and health at work, social and economic development, and environmental conservation in the areas where [they] operate” (Fundación Mayaguëz). Mayaguëz is clearly paving the way for sustainability in every aspect of their business but especially in the social and environmental spheres and ensuring that their business practices are as clean and ethical as possible.
Mauricio Iragorri, CEO
Mayaguëz is a leading sugarcane business in Colombia with four main products: sugar, alcohol fuel, energy cogeneration, and compost. They transform sugarcane into a variety of product (sugar, electricity, ethanol). Social responsibility is integral to their business (Fundación Mayaguëz).