Solutions that matter

From climate change to human rights to immigration, 2017 presented numerous challenges that required organizations to take a position and respond. With a growing world population, we need to deliver more food with the same amount of land and water available. Fortunately, more private and government players recognize that a sustainable, climate-resilient approach to global trade is key.

Highlights of 2017

  • Europe

    In 2017, Solidaridad Europe commenced a new way of working. This involved shaping the organization according to five core activities: Policy Influencing, Corporate Engagement & Partnerships, Donor Relations, Knowledge Management & Learning, and Communication & Campaigning. This structure has created a solid base for further growth. It will enable Solidaridad to better respond to European developments and strengthen its value proposition.

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  • South America

    At Solidaridad South America, the model for continual improvement to scale sustainable production has grown beyond its piloting phase. The private sector is now responding by replicating and scaling this model up. Solidaridad is making advancements in establishing more overarching interventions to integrate these in farm solutions with landscape approaches. In addition, Solidaridad is fostering an enabling policy environment to improve native forest conservation and smallholder resilience to climate change.

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  • South & South-East Asia

    Solidaridad, in association with Stahl, PUM, and Indian associations, launched a partnership to clean up the Ganges River. This is supported by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency with the aim to make Kanpur leather more sustainable. The partnership will reduce pollution levels from effluent water, creating a safer environment for 250,000 workers and cleaner water for 30,000 smallholder farmers who depend on wastewater for agricultural production.

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  • West Africa

    Despite funding challenges, the year 2017 has been rewarding due to the enormous commitment on the part of the entire staff of Solidaridad West Africa. During the year, Solidaridad deepened engagement with several donors from the European Union including the embassies of Sweden and the Netherlands. This led to the creation of three new funding agreements for programmes.

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  • Central America

    In 2017, regional commodity-based multi-stakeholder platforms and sustainable landscape initiatives in Honduras and Nicaragua matured under the leadership of a strengthened and professionalized Solidaridad team. Innovations were integrated in impact investment, digital technology, gender inclusion, and climate solutions. Solidaridad introduced new business models to meet the growing demand for guidance and support from the private sector, government and civil society organizations.

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  • East & Central Africa

    One of Solidaridad’s key focuses for 2017 was creating an enabling policy environment in Uganda where all stakeholders in tea, fruit and vegetables are involved in policy discussions. In Tanzania, under the Golden Line project, Solidaridad engaged in advocacy initiatives where legal mining issues were discussed. Solidaridad also established strategic partnerships with private and public entities related to climate change, creating an enabling policy environment, impact investment, digital solutions and sustainable landscape innovations.

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  • China

    Solidaridad invested intensive efforts to promote key stakeholders’ awareness about sustainable commodities, enabling tools for improved CSR performance of enterprises and to reduction of China’s footprint both domestically and abroad in 2017.

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  • Southern Africa

    Solidaridad Southern Africa has experienced an exciting year of learning and growth. The team has expanded, which has improved its expertise of critical innovation areas. A number of programmes were concluded in 2017 and this provided great opportunity for reflection. Going forward, Solidaridad is well-poised to take its strengthened team, new insights and learning, and embark on programmes in key commodities across the region.

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  • North America

    The year 2017 was an eventful one for Solidaridad North America. The team continued to manage existing partnerships and develop new ones with leading brands and civil society organizations. Solidaridad focussed significantly on improving external communication and enhancing brand recognition through different channels. In addition, the North American team developed several important proposals in collaboration with other regional centres in the Solidaridad Network.

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Foreword By Nico Roozen

In the current global environment, Solidaridad’s mission to create more inclusive and sustainable societies is increasingly relevant. We observe that traditional donors are keen to support civil society organizations that work constructively with the private sector.

By 2050 there will be nine billion people on the planet. This means we need to deliver more food with the same size of land and water available. As growing awareness of this challenge mounts, both private and government players recognize that a sustainable, climate-resilient approach to global trade is key.

Solidaridad’s Ambition 2020 Strategy created the framework for the global network to address these challenges. In 2017, we strengthened our capacity worldwide to focus on driving our innovation areas in Impact Investment, Digital Solutions, Gender and Social Inclusion and Landscape Approaches. This involved appointing experts in key regions to deepen our knowledge and expand our scope.

Across South and South-East Asia, Solidaridad promoted the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices across 380,000 hectares of land and this led to an overall decrease in the use of agro-chemicals. Across multiple commodities in the region, farmers experienced production increases from 15% in sugar to 50% in soy.

In our global sugar programme, through the implementation of good agricultural practices including drip irrigation, trash mulching, use of biocontrols, and proper land preparation, a total of 27 billion litres of water was saved.

In South America, we strengthened our ties with organizations working against deforestation and built knowledge on sustainable approaches and low-carbon agriculture. In response to climate challenges in Chaco, Argentina, we established a governance body to facilitate access to loans for small producers to feed pasture-less herds. In Colombia, along with our partners and the government, we signed a national commitment ensuring a deforestation-free palm oil supply chain by 2020.

In the Ganges River basin  in India, a partnership was launched between agro-chemical companies Stahl and PUM, Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and the Indian leather industry association. This will reduce pollution levels from effluent water, creating a safer environment for 250,000 workers and cleaner water for 30,000 smallholder farmers who depend on this for agricultural production.

Worldwide, we have seen the demand for digital solutions increasing. In our sugarcane programme with Raízen (ELO), we assisted 2,100 farms with the development of a tested mobile application for extension officers. In cotton and textiles, QuizRR provided digital training for factory workers on issues such as labour rights, worker engagement, and wage management. These digital tools helped brands support the capacity development of their suppliers.

With the implementation of the new strategy (2016-2020), Solidaridad’s objectives are to provide proof of concept for intervention with lasting impact and to increase the speed and scale of that impact. By acting on five intervention levels (producer, robust infrastructure, landscape, country and global market) we can identify barriers, develop approaches to overcome them, build alliances to finance the proof of concept and find avenues to communicate and disseminate these proven concepts to allow for uptake at scale.

In 2017 we have supported 273 companies to adopt sustainable practices as drivers for change. We also initiated or participated in 86 Multi-stakeholder initiatives as a primary forum for discussing and building consensus on the sustainability agenda of different private and public stakeholders. 2017 was the first full implementation year of our Ambition 2020 strategy. With the further uptake of our strategy, we expect numbers to further rise in 2018. Moreover, we increased our indirect impact in 2017 by providing proof of concept to producers, governments, companies and major development programmes, and thereby speeding up structures that facilitate duplication by third parties at scale.

We have also been focusing on building the capacity of 155 CSOs for them to play an active role in decision making and dialogue. Working on advocacy is a long-term process. This takes time to materialize, but we are on the right track by setting the foundations for effective dialogue through the multi-stakeholder platforms.

Across the Solidaridad Network, spanning 543 staff across 42 countries, we have built this knowledge and tools over the past 49 years. In 2017, we built our global capacity to accelerate our innovation themes and look forward to enhancing partnerships with players that are committed to enhancing agricultural sustainability.

Nico Roozen
Solidaridad Network Executive Director

Creating change that matters

The Solidaridad Network is registered as a foundation at the Chamber of Commerce in Utrecht, the Netherlands, under the number 51756811.

Network Secretariat
't Goylaan 15
Utrecht 3525 AA
The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 (0)30 275 94 50

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