Advancing organic agricultural operations by creating a sustainable network connecting producers, distributors, and consumers
Bringing benefits to all living beings associated with the life cycle of food chain, including production, distribution, and consumption.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Leezen Company LTD.
Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Not listed (Please add to next answer - "Headquarters location: City")
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
Taiwan: 132 service stores
Outside of Taiwan: 29 service locations (USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Shanghai)
Leezen started its business venture not out of a profit seeking motive, but out of a heart of kindness and mercy - caring about the living beings in the eco environment as well as the consumer of farming products.
Inspired by Master Jih-chang, with an operating core value of committing to bringing benefits to all living beings on the grand life cycle of the food chain, Leezen was founded as a social enterprise which dedicates its business mission on the conservation of the land use, the protection of the associated natural habitats, and the fiduciary trust between the producers and the consumers.
Through reducing chemical pesticides and fertilizers when growing mango trees in remote mountain areas, Leezen advised and assisted mountain farmers to gradually restore the natural habitat for Taiwanese blue-banded king crow butterfly (Euploea eunice).
Grow organic Trapa Natans to recreate the natural habitat for Taiwanese Pheasant-tailed Jacana (hydrophasianus chirurgus) and Taiwanese pigeon eagle (accipiter trivirgatus)
New Taiwanese pigeon eagle babies observed being born to the water lily pond again.
Mother Taiwanese pigeon eagle guarding her eggs.
Endangered Taiwan brown frogs (Rana Taipehensis) have been decreasing in number due to large scale uses of chemicals in water lily farms.
Through persistent visits and step by step guidance from, Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation (the mother organization of Leezen), water lily farmers understood and embraced the concept of supporting eco balance of the farming environment and incrementally decreased the use of chemicals. Overtime, the natural balance of eco environment is revived, with Taiwanese brown frogs assisting with maintaining a healthy growing environment for the water lilies.
Water lily pond where Taiwanese brown frogs thrive, and organic water lilies are harvested and distributed to consumer via Leezen stores.
Uncle Ashi learned to conduct his organic farming with the support and assistance from Leezen organizations. It's a 2 to 3 years of challenging but fulfilling journey for him.
Through public awareness education sessions, Leezen organized and pushed out educational sessions to inform the cared consumers about what they can do to support what type of organic farming in order to support which type of endangered animals.
Since 1998, Leezen has been promoting organic farming practices, by working as a distributor, connecting the producer with the consumer. Over these years, the areas of organic farming have been slowly, but surely, increasing.
Trade mark of Leezen.
The first Leezen distribution store started its operation in 1998, since then, there are about 160 stores in Taiwan and a few oversea locations. Leezen works proactively with organic farmers to ensure their produces get to the consumers' tables in an efficient manner.
To encourage consumers to support organic farming practices, Leezen issued consumer credit card with part of the profits going supporting organic farmers.
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Modern farming techniques rely heavily on chemicals and bio-engineering means. With obsessive drive for enhancing productivity and decreasing costs, modern agricultural have inadvertently introduced significant unwanted toxic elements into the soil, air, water, and human bodies.
However, the problem is – it is very difficult for individual farming producers to have a full control over the entire value chain of food production/consumption.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
The proposed solution is to leverage the experience and the operating model of Leezen, which is to build a formal social enterprise with a clear goal of connecting and managing a few critical components of the value chain across the organic production and consumption network.
The key critical components are:
1. Systematically share and disseminate the technical know-hows in organic farming
2. Connecting the full life cycle of food chain by filling the gaps between producers and consumers
3. Innovatively design and create new consumer products utilizing excess organic produces
4. A shared core value framework committing to safeguard the farm land and the eco systems living off the entire life cycle, through consumer education, encouraging consumers to buy from the organic farmers and to support the natural eco environment for the associated species.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
• Growth in physical retail stores: since the first one started in 1998, Leezen has in total of 161 distribution service stores in 2017, with an average of 10% year on year growth in the past 5 years.
• Increase in the sum of organic produces sold via Leezen stores from 1,280 ton to approximately 4,560 ton.
• Increase in organic farming practices in support of endangered species: 2 examples
o Grow organic Trapa Natans to recreate the natural habitat for Taiwanese Pheasant-tailed Jacana (hydrophasianus chirurgus) and Taiwanese pigeon eagle (accipiter trivirgatus)
- Farmers from 7 in 2011 to 31 in 2017.
- Farm land grows from 3.3 (2011) to 47.8 hectares in 2017
o Grow non-chemical-fertilized mango trees in remote mountain areas to restore the natural habitat for Taiwanese blue-banded king crow butterfly (Euploea eunice).
• Roll out public consumer education events since 1998
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
The initial capital investment of Leezen in 1998 was about $60,000 USD. The sum of Leezen 2017 capital assets is estimated at near $10 million USD. The average operating net income has been maintained at about 5% to 6%. This is not a hugely profiting business, however, sustainability is what Leezen strives for.
Leezen believes that the long-term sustainability is predicated upon the commitment to create shared value across the food chain.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
A viable operation that connects the value chain in organic food production/distribution/consumption
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
Like majority of farming areas in the world, the farm land of Taiwan has been through typical “modern” farming practices by relying on pesticides and chemical fertilizers to increase productivity. Water lily farmers use heavy chemicals to increase the productivity of water lilies, which dramatically destroy the natural habitat that the unique Taipei Brown Frogs needed to survive. By patiently persuading one old lily farmer, Uncle Ashi, to give up on using chemicals and gradually transform to organic growing techniques, coupled with a marketing strategy of lobbying consumers to support organic farming, which took 3 years to accomplish. This journey has become a prototype of subsequent Leezen organic win-win farming transformations.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?