How we deliver global change

Solidaridad is an international civil society organization working on five continents. Solidarity with smallholder farmers and other workers has motivated us for 50 years and will continue to do so. We work with all actors in the food, garment, and mining supply chains, to strive for production that respects people and the planet.

Our 2016-2020 strategy in action

In 2016, Solidaridad designed a Theory of Change and defined result areas for the five-year strategy period from 2016 to 2020: 

  • good practices 

  • robust infrastructure in agriculture, mining and industry

  • landscape innovations 

  • enabling policy environments. 

Tackling interlinked challenges

One of the most pressing issues our strategy addresses is the impact of climate change, compounded by fast increasing consumption. Ecological challenges are increasingly interlinked on a global scale due to the extreme demands on land, water, and energy. Holistic good landscape management practices are essential to keep this process in check. To date, Solidaridad has brought 2 million hectares under these practices. 

Growing inequality is our other key concern. The richest 42 multi-billionaires hold wealth equal to the annual income of the 3.7 billion poorest people. Through our strategy, we seek a more inclusive model of growth based on participation. Participation is key. Social inclusion – leaving no one behind – based on a broad pro-poor growth strategy. 

Transforming markets

Most market processes exacerbate these problems. That’s why our strategy seeks to transform business practices and make them part of the solution. The driving concept behind this is market transformation. We believe markets can produce more equitable outcomes. However, this requires a combination of three enabling factors: 

  • good governance

  • high standards of corporate social and ecological responsibility

  • innovative contributions by civil society. 

For instance, voluntary certification schemes like Fairtrade and UTZ raised awareness among consumers about inequality. They gave birth to the concept of corporate social and ecological responsibility. And they led to valuable partnerships between Solidaridad (and organizations like us), corporations, and other key players in the supply chain. However, they have failed to solve

farmer poverty, even as other groups have achieved a measure of prosperity, and the destruction of ecosystems because of overconsumption.

From voluntary schemes to mandatory standards

Because of these limitations, Solidaridad is now looking beyond voluntary schemes. Instead, we are focused on public-private sector partnerships and mandatory sustainability standards. We are thought leaders on how to formulate legislation that reduces inequality and environmental damage. As such, we advise governments around the world on structuring policy frameworks to leverage change.  

Solidaridad’s model of sustainability impact. We are increasingly focused on the bottom tier for maximum impact in the drive for better livelihoods for farmers and workers

A shift in global trade

The last decade has witnessed an existential change in trade across the globe, away from North-South thinking. Thanks to phenomenal economic growth in Asia, South-South, regional, and local solutions and trade are increasingly the answer to building sustainable livelihoods. That’s why we are encouraging farmers to look beyond international supply chains, in which the inequalities are only growing.  

As we move into the 2020s, then, our work is more important than ever. However, it is time for a new paradigm. The focus must be on building resilient communities and better conditions for all workers. We will need a new balance between local economic development and globalization to make it work. Solidaridad is now building Strategy 2021 - 2025 to help achieve this as part of our ongoing mission to build economies that work for the poor. 

Solidaridad’s mission

Underlying this strategy is our mission is to bring together supply chain actors and engage them in innovative solutions to improve production, supporting the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes the benefit for all. We aspire to transform production practices in such a way that it provides fair and profitable business opportunities, guarantees decent working conditions and a living wage, and does not deplete landscapes where people thrive.

Solidaridad envisions a world in which all we produce, and all we consume, can sustain us while respecting the planet, each other and the next generations.