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CSR in SMEs of Curaçao (part 1): Curaçao Ecocity Projects- Curaloe®

Starting as of today I’m highlighting some companies which I consider to be sustainable. It has to do with my sense of pride, pride I feel for having great things resulting from such a small island in the Caribbean. The island of Curaçao.



Before getting deeper into the area of Sustainability and Corporate (Social) Responsibility, CSR, (…social between brackets because I believe this word might be misleading in this context. But that will be another post….), I had the idea that CSR was all about the social aspects. These aspects are important of course but they are just a fraction of all there is possible in the area I’m talking about. The quarter fell, (literally translated from a Dutch saying) when I started reading more about the subject, when helping the company I was working at, to engage more into CSR. To my surprise I discovered CSR was way more than we had thought it was up to that time. As a subject of my master (I left my job, sold everything I owned and moved to Madrid to get my masters degree on Sustainability and CSR), we studied how SMEs (Small and Medium Sized- Enterprises) can put CSR into practice. When taking a closer look I discovered there are so many companies in Curaçao that actually are “Corporate Socially Responsible”.

As Daniel Truran perfectly explains there are 6 stakeholders that can drive SMEs to engage into CSR practices. In other words stakeholders that make CSR happen in an SME are: Shareholders, employees, environment, communities, suppliers and customers.


To start, let’s analyse which of these stakeholders act as CSR drivers for CurAloe:

Key Success factors of Curaçao Ecocity Projects
Implementation of CSR through Curaloe®

For the past ten years, Curaçao Ecocity Projects has been producing Curaloe®, organic products made of raw Aloe Vera, in the form of facial, shower and body products, insect repellants and a health drink. About 90% of its products are exported, which is a positive development for the island. Currently, Curaloe®products are exported to Aruba, Bonaire, Saint Martin, Suriname, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain and Dominican Republic.harvest Prospect export countries are among others Canada, U.S.A., Colombia, Slovenia and Romania. It would be no surprise to see Curaloe® as a recognised brand for organic Aloe Vera products worldwide in a few years.


Main CSR Drivers
I consider Curaçao Ecocity as one of the pioneer contributors to sustainable development in the community of Curaçao. I know there are more, so please read about these in my next posts. One of its main drivers to implement CSR into their business is mainly the environment.
They do this as follows:

  • Electricity generation: By installing solar panels on the rooftops of their plants, they are saving up to 50% on electricity costs and thus have less negative consequences for the environment.
  • Waste Reduction: Recently Ecocity introduced refillable dispensers in local hotel room bathrooms. This way, individual shower and body care bottles are eliminated which means less waste. Remnants of the unused aloe plant during production or in plantation maintenance, are turned into compost and reused.
  • Watering system: The Aloe Vera plant grows well with little water. The water that is needed, usually comes from natural rainwater and also recycled water from a local wastewater treatment plant.
  • Testing: None of the products is tested on animals.
  • Ingredients: All products are made with 100% natural ingredients.
  • Fertilizers: No synthetic fertilizers are used and pesticides, herbicides and germicides are strictly forbidden.
  • Packaging: The bottles that are used are PET, which is an environmentally friendly packaging option, since the production and transport causes less environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

This fits into Curaçao Ecocity’s so called “green philosophy”, which entails:

G.A.P. (good Agriculture Practices), designed and implemented throughout the production processes to minimize harmful environmental impacts….and to ensure a responsible approach to worker health and safety” (www.ecocityprojects.com).

The second driver for implementing CSR practices into their business is highlighted in their Green Philosophy: the employee.

B1hUiXIIEAAHCEg Currently there are 28 workers with a permanent contract. For Ecocity, good working conditions, happiness and wellbeing of its employees is key. Ecocity recognises that its workforce is one of their greatest strengths and is committed to making their working experience a truly meaningful and beneficial one. They do this by:

  • Housing: The plantation workers are offered a well-equipped place to live on the premises of the plantation, if needed.
  • Wages: The lowest salaries are more than 35% above the local minimum wage.
  • Vacation days: The vacation days are above average compared to other local manufacturing companies.
  • Pension: Ecocity is working on offering its workers a decent pension plan. This is not considered as an automatic fact in all companies on the island.
  • Intermediary: If needed, the company will play an intermediary role in the workers private affairs (for example in financial matters, mortgage, car loan etc).

Ecocity considers to implement more employee related CSR practices in the future. Some of which might be for example contracting workers with a handicap or focusing on training programs for school drop outs. The possibilities have to be studied.

With the introduction of an attractive, fresh, modern and ecofriendly package, Curaloe® is a must-buy Caribbean-made gift item. This promises to win public approval and create a love- emotional engagement with customers.


A less developed driver is the community. Up to now Ecocity has not had enough financial resources to put in place more community based CSR practices. Ways of engaging with communities is being studied. Sponsoring community activities with Aloe drink is part of current efforts.

In conclusion:
Curaçao Ecocity Projects has achieved mentioned results in just 10 years. It is now being profitable and aims to increase its CSR practices in the years to come. There are still many areas of growth. The Curaloe® product is worth highlighting because on a small island, where CSR is mostly interpreted only as Philanthropy, this company has made important impacts, and aims to become a leading company on the island in terms of CSR good-practices.

Stay tuned for my next posts on the CSR practices of SMEs in Curaçao.


Daniel Truran
Interview with commercial manager Remco Ernandes


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