For Mar & Terra, sustainability is a set of values, expressed in strategies and actions that ensure the longevity of the company. As the reality of the corporate world is increasingly complex, it is of utmost importance to have more and more a broad and innovative vision and the development of new competencies that sustain it.
Mar & Terra sees sustainability as a journey, a continuous evolution of business and people, seeking to drive awareness, health, happiness and PROFITS. In short, Mar & Terra aims at building a business that is good for all the parties involved.
Mar & Terra was born with the vision and the purpose of following this path. An intrinsic and fundamental part of our business strategy, sustainability, at Mar & Terra, is based on and turns around six main axes or core values.
Guarantee the strictest food safer in all stages of breeding, farming, processing, transport and marketing of the fish produced by Mar & Terra and its integrated producers, so promoting the complete satisfaction of its clients is the #1 value for Mar & Terra.
- Carry out microbiological tests on samples of kinds of cuts.
- Off-Flavor analyses. Two analyses for flavor, odor and aspect are carried out, one at the fish farm, before the arrival at the processing plant, and the other one prior to the slaughter in order to identify undesirable texture, color or flavor.
- HACCP system, including the 18 new elements that were incorporated by the last revision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply from November, 2009. Among these elements, there are preventive maintenance of equipments and facilities, Standard Sanitary Operational Procedures and Operational training. All business partners that produce to Mar & Terra as well as the fingerlings laboratory are in final process of obtaining their HACCP certification..
- Complete traceability. A series of procedures ensure the traceability of the fish during the entire production process, since fingerlings production until the supermarkets shelves.
- Quality Assurance Department. An experienced team is responsible for the quality assurance of the process. Employees participate in monthly trainings and daily guidance on types of cuts, packaging, freshness, delivery time, personal hygiene and tools cleaning.
Mar & Terra continuously invest in research and development, aiming at creating new technologies that guarantee a good cost-benefit for the company, society and environment.
- Reproduction Laboratory. The advantage of a reproduction laboratory is the increased offer of fingerling seeds, because the efficiency (survival of the fingerling seed) in these units is much bigger than in nature. From one fish it is possible to reproduce 50,000 fingerlings. By increasing the offer of fingerlings, which is the first link in the productive chain, you increase the chances of a quality breeding for an entire year, thus contributing to the decrease in pressure on the natural fish stocks. These stocks are diminishing on a daily basis because of various factors among which include predatory fishing.
- Traceability and genetic improvements. All the breeding stock fish are identified by microchips and there is currently a program for genetic improvement. Steadily, Mar & Terra is forming its own improved breeders, allowing for more efficiency in the productive process.
- Mar & Terra develops more balanced diets according to phases of breeding. Fish in different growth stages, i.e. fingerling, juvenile and adults, eat different types of feed. This allows for decreasing the feed conversion rate (the capacity of the fish to transform the feed into body mass) and therefore the lower the rate the more efficient it is. We strive to use ingredients that are more digestible, to maximize growth, decrease costs and decrease the waste in the water. The fish also become less susceptible to diseases and less dependent on medicines. By improving the feed, growth improves, the fattening period decreases, the impact of the effluent on the natural environment decreases, and all these factors lead to a better economic result.
- Development of alternative techniques for the control of diseases. Since 2007 we have included bacteria from the fish with beneficial probiotic potential. The objective is to improve the intestinal flora of the fish thus improving resistance to diseases. Mar & Terra is also developing vaccines which, together with probiotics, will guarantee better health for the fish and consequently minimize the use of medicine and death rates.
Not only does Mar & Terra respects its employees legal rights, consolidated in Brazilian labor law, but it also goes beyond and invests in their personal and professional development, in enhancing work conditions and in building the culture of dialogue.
- Participation in the Profit-Sharing Program. This program stimulates self-responsibility, transparency and productivity of its employees. The Profit-Sharing Program has been an incentive for Mar & Terra’s teams and individuals. Each team has its own goals, which are evaluated on a monthly basis and paid every six months. This represents a possible extra 12% on top of their salary, of which 11% are given for team goal achievements (five goals per team which varies between departments) and 1% are individual goals (for an employee who does not have any suspensions). A spreadsheet is placed on the notice boards every month so that employees can keep track of their performance. There is also a monthly meeting with the department manager to discuss why goals were or were not achieved, and what changes or support is needed to achieve the goals. At the end of the six month period, the employee already knows the percentage he/she has achieved.
Located in the city of Itaporã, state of Mato Grosso do Sul, with 18,305 inhabitants, Mar & Terra actively contributes for the local development. Greatest employer in the city, it prioritizes the hiring of those who live in the city and makes 70% of its purchases in the region of Dourados. It also stimulates volunteering and respects local culture and customs.
Mar & Terra invests in building a culture of dialogue with its partners and suppliers. We provide technical assistance, include social and environmental criteria in contracts and help increase the income of small producers.
• Mar & Terra examines social and environmental aspects in its relations with suppliers. Currently, Mar & Terra has ten outsourced breeders of Pintado in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and 27 producers of Tambaqui and Paiche (Arapaima gigas) in the state of Rondonia. We negotiate the supply of fingerlings and feed with suppliers in order to allow our partner producers to purchase these items at competitive prices. There are social clauses in the contracts prohibiting child labor and any form of slavery. All producers receive free technical assistance, training, consulting in administration issues like the efficient management of their property. A technical guide including environmental and social criteria was developed and audits are carried out every six months. Our main value in our relationship with the outsourced breeders is transparency. A technician visits the producers to keep up with production, and after each production closure, a profitability and error analysis is done. Our aim is to assist and raise awareness, as it is not just buy and sell relationship for us, says Logistics and Supply chain Manager Weberton José de Mello.
Aquaculture is becoming increasingly important in the food supply chain and currently is responsible for one third of the fish consumed worldwide and the demand is increasing everyday. So increases the concerns on the social and environmental negative impacts that this activity can cause. Mar & Terra strives to minimize the main environmental and social impacts that are associated with aquaculture, especially with regards to effluents in water, spread of diseases, pest control, origin of ingredients used in feed and treatment of waste and residues.