The Whole Planet Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Whole Foods Market that works to alleviate poverty via microcredit lending in communities worldwide that supply their stores with products. By collaborating with existing microfinance infrastructure in various locations around the world, the foundation has a massive reach with programs now running in over 50 countries. As of March 2012, the Whole Planet Foundation disbursed nearly $135 Million dollars in microfinance loans, positively impacting the lives of thousands of individuals and families. The Whole Planet Foundation is a powerful way for Whole Foods Market and its suppliers to affect meaningful change in the communities that make their businesses possible.
When Be Green Packaging CEO Ron Blitzer was invited to join the supplier alliance on the recent Whole Planet Foundation International Field Visit to Brazil, he jumped at the opportunity. As a founding member of the Whole Planet Foundation’s ‘Change for Change’ fund, Be Green Packaging has been involved with the organization for many years. As a long-term supporter, Blitzer was interested in seeing just what kind of impact the company’s donations were having on people’s lives.
Both a founder and board member, Ron has banking experience due to his involvement with the Bank of Santa Barbara. During the trip to Brazil, he experienced the banking process on a much smaller scale, as the amounts typically offered in microfinance loans are in the range of $150 – $250. Although small by American standards, these sums allowed program participants to start businesses and help raise themselves and their families out of poverty.
While in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the group met with the leadership at the Banco Do Povo (a non-profit NGO that works with the Whole Planet Foundation), where donors experienced first hand the effects that the microloans had on the lives of the Brazilian entrepreneurs.
“What was amazing to me was to be able to see a family signing the documents and receiving a check to start a business. While the amount was only $150 dollars, the expression, excitement and amazement on the faces of the borrowers was exactly the same as it was at the Bank of Santa Barbara. The amounts really do not matter when a banker lends you money it is always transformative.” stated Blitzer of the experience.
He went on to comment, “As a triple bottom line company, Be Green’s business model and focus on sustainability maintains that supporting people and the planet are as important to us as sales and profits. Contributing and aligning ourselves with micro finance helps us meet our organizational and personal missions. It’s not just about biodegradable packaging, its about building a sustainable business model and making a positive impact on people and the planet as a whole. Working with the Whole Planet Foundation is one of the ways in which we can have a direct, meaningful impact by helping to alleviate poverty worldwide.”
Be Green Packaging has a long-standing relationship with Whole Foods Market as the supplier of the compostable and recyclable bulrush food containers used in the Prepared Foods, Meat and Seafood, and Produce departments.
About Whole Planet Foundation
Founded in 2005, Whole Planet Foundation is a Whole Foods Market foundation that funds poverty alleviation worldwide where the company sources products. The nonprofit’s mission is to empower the poor living in developing-world communities with microcredit and the chance to create or expand a home-based business and lift themselves and their families out of poverty. As of December 2011, Whole Planet Foundation is funding microlending programs through microfinance institutionpartners in 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the U.S., supporting over one million people with a chance for a better life. To date, the nonprofit has authorized more than $26.5 million and disbursed more than $16.5 million through microlending partners worldwide. Learn more and donate online at wholeplanetfoundation.org.
About Be Green Packaging
Be Green Packaging LLC, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., manufactures and distributes Cradle to Cradlecm certified, tree-free, compostable and recyclable packaging for the food and consumer packaging industries. The company’s products are made from annually renewable plant fibers that are safe for people and healthy for the planet. For more information about the company, please visit Be Green Packaging. To order Be Green products visit the Be Green Packaging Store here Biodegradable Packaging