Twenty-eight years have passed since we began this project that has guided our lives. Since we established ourselves in this region, Castile and Leon, with the purchase in 1991 of our first biscuit factory in Venta de Baños, Palencia, our home and our future path were in this region.
Over time, we have expanded from having 80 collaborators to construct a great family with more than 5,000 people, who have made us today a model in the food industry in Spain. In a short time our revenues have grown from 9 million euros to more than 600 million, allowing us to continue with our commitment to our dream of internationalisation.
From our start, we have tried to pass on to our collaborators a sustainable business model that creates shared value, in a family and close working environment. We have put our heart into becoming a company that people, whether they are inside our outside it, want to exist.
Our biggest challenge has always been to maintain and continue to generate quality employment in rural areas, particularly in Castile-Leon, the region that saw us emerge, and which has welcomed us and supported us since then.
This is home to 2,500 workers who give the best of themselves, from Aguilar de Campo, Palencia; Briviesca, Burgos; Venta de Baños, Palencia; Medina del Campo, Valladolid; Toro, Zamora; and El Espinar, Segovia; and to more than 300 farmers who have joined our project with enthusiasm, to develop and manufacture the best cereal-based products that Castile and Leon is capable of producing.
We have always wanted our business development to bring welfare and growth to Castile and Leon, the region where we started out from, which is something that can never be forgotten. It is a region full of tradition and history, with a great heritage, nature, diversity, gastronomy, agriculture… full of good, austere people, who above all are fighters. It is here that we have deposited our heart and our future.
At a personal level, for both Juan Manuel and myself, the greatest of our sources of pride over this time has been the integration of people at risk of social exclusion. In 1998 we opened our first special employment centre in Venta de Baños for people with different capacities; and I well recall that to fill 25 vacancies, we received CVs from 1,200 candidates. And this fact heightened our commitment to the most disadvantaged. Since then it has become our company’s hallmark and a basic pillar of our Sustainable Social Commitment.
Currently, 16% of our workforce in Spain are members of groups at risk of social exclusion: nearly 600 collaborators of the more than 5,000 who make up Cerealto Siro Foods. Our challenge is to continue to work along these lines because they are the people we believe in; because they not only do things well, but they also show us that there are no limits, and their commitment is second to none. Just by in way they think and act they give us daily lessons in how to rise above ourselves.
To ensure that this commitment and our project should transcend its boundaries, in 2007 we created the Grupo Siro Foundation, which at the express desire of Juan Manuel and myself, will be the next owner of the Company. It also has its headquarters in Castile and Leon, at the Monastery of San Pelayo de Cerrato, in Cevico Navero, Palencia. We worked with stones that date back to 600 B.C in only 12 years with the help of the local community, to create a symbol of our idea of remaining for more than 500 years.
Today, the headquarters of the Foundation is the scenario where we train our leaders and where we recognise the excellent students who are the sons and daughters of our collaborators. It is also the place where we promote social, cultural, environmental and research projects that allow us to generate a greater impact on the environment in which we are present.
We are committed to cultivating a sustainable future in which to continue to improve and grow, and we are well aware that this depends on people. That is why both Juan Manuel and I will continue to make an effort every day to imbue the collaborators we have with us with a motivating and exciting corporate project.
There is still a long way to go, and this is how we will continue, calling on our moral responsibility as businesspeople and promoting initiatives based on our social commitment; because that is what defines us and what will make us progress towards a sustainable and integrating future. And we are going to do so based on effort and responsibility. Our challenge is to be here 500 years from now because society still wants us to continue to be here.
Lucía Urbán López
Vice Chairman of Cerealto Siro Foods and the Grupo Siro Foundation
Source: El Norte de Castilla