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What’s better than a reliable producer? One who also treats his employees fairly! We have found such a partner in Magnus Eco Concepts (MEC)! MEC not only delivers exceptional quality but also does exceptional things for its employees. You can find out more about the origin of our palm ware tableware and fair production here.
The idea of using leaves as a plate is not new. In South India it has been a tradition for centuries to serve food on banana leaves to guests on special occasions and celebrations. The brothers Satheesh and Nandha Kumar took over this tradition and built a business out of it. Growing up in Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India, they were very familiar with the local conditions and the fauna. Thanks to their professional background, the trained mechanical engineers and textile technicians were able to develop their first own machine in 2003 to process domestic leaves. The principle is simple: fallen leaves of the areca palm lying on the ground are collected, washed, and processed into plates and bowls with the help of hydraulic presses. The foundation stone for the greenbox-Palmware® was laid. Palm leaf post.
Eight years later, in 2011, Robert Czichos, founder and managing director of greenbox Bionatic, stumbled upon the producer of palm leaf tableware Magnus Eco Concepts on a trading platform on the Internet. After a few emails, the first 20-foot container with plates made from palm leaves was ordered – against payment in advance and without ever having really met. The trust placed was immediately returned with the best quality goods that greenbox Bionatic has ever held in its hands. That was the beginning of a special partnership.
Top quality, clearly defined processes and modern production machines are one thing. What is really exciting, however, is the social responsibility that the palm leaf producer takes on. The working conditions of the – predominantly female – employees on site play an important role. In a country where women enjoy far fewer rights than men, this cannot be taken for granted.
MEC takes care of the transport so that your employees get to work and back home safely. Satheesh and Nandha bought a bus without further ado and hired a driver to pick up the workers every morning and bring them home after the end of their shift Free.
On a piece of land on the factory site, the Kumar brothers also operate “natural farming” with some employees. They plant seeds for fruits and vegetables and leave the rest to nature. The income is given to the employees. There is no price for fresh food: every employee gives what he or she thinks is appropriate.
The next generation is also highly valued at MEC. A teak tree is planted for every child of a long-term employee. The company tends the tree and cuts it down after 15 years. The proceeds from the wood sold are used to finance the child’s education.
Speaking of trees: we offset all CO2 emissions from our products. In the state of Tamil Nadu, where our palm products are also produced, we are reforesting tropical forests through Climate Partners. There is more on the topic in our article on climate neutrality . Would you like to know exactly how many tons of CO2 we have saved to date? You can find all the details on our greenbox Climate Partner page .
There are now 180 women and men working at MEC. Many of them cannot always ensure that the children are looked after during the day. To remedy this, rooms for a free daycare center were built on the factory premises in 2018. Two employees have been looking after the children since then.
The working conditions also correspond to the progressive mindset of the two brothers. Work takes place in eight-hour shifts, six days a week. The hourly wages are above the usual average. Overtime is paid twice. Paid vacation and health insurance are foreign words to other Indian employers. Not for MEC.
When it comes to work safety, Satheesh and Nandha also make no compromises. Regular training courses on the safe use of the machines and what to do in emergencies are also part of the program, as are appropriate work equipment and unannounced fire alarm exercises.
Regulated working hours, fair wages, safe working conditions and a comprehensive social package? It all sounds almost too good to be true.
During our annual visits, however, we repeatedly convince ourselves of the exemplary conditions that prevail in the MEC production facility. In order to confirm our word, MEC carries out audits at regular intervals by independent test facilities. MEC also passed the last BSCI audit (including ensuring fair working conditions) with flying colors.
When asked what makes him proud of the development of MEC, Satheesh gives a clear answer: “As a regular employee, I could only support my family. I can now support 170 families through the company. ” In this country, employee benefits like those at MEC are not the norm. In a developing country like India, they are even more extraordinary. Therefore, we also think: You can be proud of these fair conditions!