Community assembly to “continue building trust” between Unión La Bú and MLR Forestal
Unión La Bú is a rural community of Siuna surrounded by the Rivers Aló and El Pijibay, it is also neighboring the plantations of MLR Forestal. In this town, on April 18, 2022, the first of the community assemblies promoted by MLR Forestal was held in the areas adjacent to its operations.
Lino Velázquez, an inhabitant of Unión La Bú, said that in the activity “there was good participation, people left excited and wishing that the assemblies would be more frequent to continue building trust with the company.”
During the assembly one of the central moments was the ratification of the community leaders. These leaders are citizens in whom the community trusts and who will continue communication with MLR Forestal and will make efforts for the benefit of the population. Among these leaders there are people who belong to different sectors: health, religion, education, sports and others.
A fruitful and satisfying activity
“The assembly has been fruitful and satisfactory because it has allowed us to reach more people. We were there to inform them, to tell them who we are and what we do. For example, regarding the system of complaints and suggestions, it was shared with them how many complaints there were in 2021 and so far in 2022 and the resolutions that were taken to respond to each one,” said Mabel Lazo, head of Social Management of MLR Forestal.
“During the assembly, the certification area delivered cards where the principles of the international certifications MLR Forestal has are explained, and also what these certifications that the company has consist of. Also, our Biodiversity department unveiled the catalog of birds and the actions we carry out for the protection of the environment and species in danger of extinction,” said Lazo.
The head of Social Management added that they spoke to the community about employment opportunities. “Because we are not limited to a spot on the radio or a periphon, but we want that through ourselves and the corresponding areas they can know the requirements, the benefits, the process that must be followed to work in the company.”
The steps to follow in community relations
Lino Velázquez said he was happy because after this assembly open to the whole community they will hold another one where “we are going to form a search and rescue brigade and have training so that the commission is activated in the event of any flood. This for us is important because the rivers here grow with heavy rains.”
In addition to the assemblies with communities, MLR Forestal also held one on April 20 with neighbors of private farms in the areas of Mutiwas, Tadazna and Waylawas that border the company. Felícito Chaverri, who owns a property in Mutiwas, commented that the meeting was fruitful because “we were well oriented and explained the issues very well.”
Agenda items at the meeting with the Unión La Bú community:
- Presentation of the company and status of MLR operations.
- Social management projects, include verification of the community health and safety plan.
- Main results of international certifications. The FSC certification granted by the Forest Stewardship Council since 2013 that certifies forest plantations through compliance with ten principles; that of the Rainforest Alliance that the company has had since 2017 and certifies good practices in cocoa production through evaluation modules that value the environmental, social, administrative area and traceability of the product and, the most recent certification, of carbon capture under the VCS standard (Verified Carbon Standard) that certifies the project makes an adequate approach to the measures that contribute to the mitigation of the effects climate change, support local communities and small farmers, and conserve biodiversity.
- The actions to promote biodiversity that the company carries out on its farms, the MLR study and catalogue of birds was also presented.
- The employment opportunities open to the community, requirements and benefits that people who work for MLR have.
- Ratification of community leaders with whom communities feel represented.