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Organic shops can benefit from e-learning on sustainability

Published 16.02.2017 by Marian Blom

That was one of the outcomes of a lively discussion at the Biofach workshop in Nurnberg on 15 February 2017, moderated by Ecozept and Bionext. The workshop started with a presentation of the Erasmus Plus project: Code of Good Organic Retailing Practice. In that project 9 partners in 7 countries together developed a joint e-learning tool. The basis for the tool is the already existing Code of Good Organic Retailing Practice  where the container idea of sustainability is divided in 8 dimensions and practices that are relevant for retail. The partners transferred these dimensions, like: “transparency”, “sustainability on the shopfloor” and “product quality” into chapters  and these again in several lessons. The lessons present the information in short pages enriched with pictures, videos and links to more info. At the end of each chapter there are self-test quizzes.  There is a mother version in English, and 7 adapted and country specific versions (Turkish, Bulgarian, Slovenian, German, French, Dutch, Czech). 

After the presentation of the project and its outcome the moderators wanted to know the opinion of the audience. Where do they see the added value of the e-learning tool and would there be enough spirit of cooperation between organic shops to further develop a joint e-learning tool? The audience, more than 30 participants, with among others students, shop owners and private shop label owners, had different opinions. Generally e-learning was greeted as a tool where larger companies with a lot of flexible staff could still train all their workforce. All reactions pointed into the direction that the role of a tutor was indispensable and a combination of e-learning and real life discussion with other students and staff a very good combination. On the question if there would be enough willingness to cooperate, opinions diverged. A shop owner considered that this cooperation would harm the uniqueness of his shop, but others argued that for example for the generic knowledge on organic legislation and labelling requirements companies would really be willing to cooperate for further development of the tool.