I started Blue Skies to efficiently and profitably deliver food products of the highest quality from a network of factories, and to do this with people who enjoy working here because I wanted to build a happy, hard-working company committed to building long term partnerships, and fostering sustainable development in Africa and South America.
To achieve this we have applied three simple principles. The first is to ensure we are a diverse company, welcoming people from all different ages, genders and backgrounds and giving one another equal opportunity to thrive. This helps to create a synergy conducive to coming up with the best ideas and bringing them to fruition. The second principle is that we respect each other, regardless of who we are or the jobs we are employed to do. This has become the foundation of our culture and enables us each to fulfill our jobs to the best of our abilities with care, self-belief and importantly, spirit! The third principle is to make a profit. We need to make a profit to protect our company and allow it to grow, but not at the expense of our diversity, nor our respect for each other. To make a profit we uphold the values of delivering fresh-from-harvest quality, market leading innovation and excellent customer service.
It is these three principles that make up the model which we call our Joint Effort Enterprise (JEE). Put simply the JEE espouses the idea that a business works best if it is inclusive, socially equal and profitable. It is this model that has enabled Blue Skies to respond effectively to actual and immediate challenges and to be innovative and profitable in a highly competitive market.
Adding Value at Source
At the heart of our philosophy is a commitment to practicing equitable trade by ‘adding value at source’. This means that where possible we make the finished product in the country or region where the fruit is grown, rather than doing it in factories overseas. By doing this we believe as much as 70% of the value of the finished product stays within the country of origin, compared to as little as 15% if it is processed outside. This approach also enables us to have a closer relationship with the farmers who grow the fruit so we can work together to improve quality and lessen our impact on the environment.
The Blue Skies Foundation
The Blue Skies Foundation is a charity which we run in partnership with two of the retailers we supply in Europe; Waitrose in the UK and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands. To date the Foundation has completed over 50 community projects in Ghana and South Africa, including the construction and renovation of schools, toilets and clinics in remote rural areas where such facilities often don’t even exist.