Co-existing to Grow
Central Otago value: Making a Sustainable Difference
Building a sustainable business means fostering both financial and environmental sustainability. It’s about co-existing, says one of COPF’s four directors, Earnscy Weaver.
“We need to work with our environment rather than against it, or we simply don’t have a fruit industry. We can’t afford to over water or waste water because that will give us poor fruit. And if we overdo the nutrition, the fertiliser, you’ll have poor fruit and wreck the trees.”
“But the first thing is financial sustainability, as you can’t be sustainable in any other way unless you’re financially sustainable. It’s about being there for the long haul and building strength for the growers, so they’ve got a more secure marketing platform.”
Claiming the Premium Space
Central Otago value: Adding Value
Doing things better and differently underpins COPF’s approach. The goal is to add value at every level and deliver the best for growers and consumers—including honing the marketing fundamentals to position Central Otago fruit as a niche product with an authentic and distinctive regional narrative.
“We’re constantly wanting the COPF concept to work for our partners, growers, the region and the customer and always asking ourselves if there is a better or different way. We’re managing new ways of getting fruit to market, new ways of enhancing value.”
“Our COPF fruit box comes with a back story and a vision…it’s got power. It’s not just another commodity product. There’s more to that box than the fruit in it. It’s about the strength of our growers’ heritage and stories. And about claiming the premium space.”
Central Otago value: Having Integrity
The attributes of honesty, integrity and quality are critical to what COPF stands for, whether it’s in the cooperative relationships around the board table or the fresh, sweet flavour of a Central Otago cherry savoured by a happy customer in China. Earnsey says:
“I think this group really stands for integrity, community-mindedness and a truthful approach. I’m always amazed at their level of integrity and it crosses over into the respect thing, especially when you have meetings because they are really very open and honest. Not always everyone agrees but they come to an end point and I think that says a lot about the people.”
“It’s integrity that flows through in the heritage of our fruit, respect for the stories of our growers and for our special Central Otago region.”