A Measure of the Return on Ingenio San Antonio’s Investment in the Adelante Initiative: An Initial Estimate of Costs and Benefits of a Water, Rest, and Shade Intervention
Author: Heath Prince, PhD
Date: May 2020
Publication Type: Report, 7 pp.
Prepared for the La Isla Network, with funding from the Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG)
La Isla Network working with the Ingenio San Antonio (ISA) sugar mill in Chichigalpa, began the implementation of its water, rest, and shade intervention for sugarcane cutters and other laborers in 2017. The project, The Adelante Initiative (Adelante), was created in response to new evidence that heavy labor in increasingly hotter temperatures is a primary cause behind the high incidence of kidney disease and the resulting deaths experienced among sugarcane cutters.
The intervention, at its most basic level, requires cane and seed cutters to hydrate sufficiently, to take multiple rest breaks during the day, and to take those breaks in shade. This regimen has demonstrably improved kidney function and reduced the incidence of kidney injury, which is believed to lead to chronic kidney disease of non-traditional etiology (CKDnt). The process behind the implementation of the intervention, however, is considerably more complex in terms of ensuring its effectiveness and success. This effort is supported by ISA’s upper management, which is likely unique among other mills in the industry.
ISA’s support for the water, rest, and shade regimen requires substantial investment to provide the electrolyte solution and the gear used by workers to carry the solution and water with them, mobile canopies used to provide shade during breaks, mobile medical clinics and teams of healthcare workers that attend to workers when needed, lab equipment, doctors, and lab workers.
In total, these costs represent a significant investment on ISA’s part and, understandably, ISA is interested in the return that the mill is getting from its investment (ROI). This interest leads to the research question that this study attempts to answer: does ISA’s investment in Adelante yield a positive or a negative return?
Using data provided by ISA, as well as data collected from secondary sources, we have attempted to estimate an ROI in Adelante. Based on what we believe to be conservative estimates, we calculate that for every dollar spent on Adelante, ISA receives a return of approximately 22%. It is important to reiterate, and cannot be overstated, that this estimate is based primarily on ISA-provided data. While there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of the data, the fact that most of it comes from a single source should be noted.