Solidaridad Netherlands was founded in 1969 and began transitions towards a Regional Expertise in 2010-2014. Our focus is on four major activities: market development, policy influencing, communications and fundraising.
Solidaridad Netherland’s approach underwent a fundamental shift of emphasis in 2013, from quantity to quality. We implemented an account management structure for 56 European companies and are in talks to develop close strategic partnerships with 7 of these.
Solidaridad develops strategic partnerships with commercial organisations to invest in good business practice and commit to higher standards of sustainability.
We promote market reforms that encourage producers and consumers to choose sustainable products. Some of our partners include:
- Friesland Campina
As the Dutch government shifts the basis of its development budget ‘from aid to trade’, it recognises Solidaridad’s expertise and supports our programmes around the world.
Solidaridad’s campaigns are aimed at making consumers and policymakers aware of the need for goods to be produced within sustainable supply chains. This increases demand and encourages companies to adapt their procedures.
From November 20, 2013 to February 16, 2014 we organised the “For the Love of Chocolate” exhibition at Amsterdam’s Maritime Museum.
Photojournalist Kadi van Lohuizen documented the journey made by cocoa beans from a farm in Ivory Coast to Mars’s factory in Veghel, The Netherlands.
The exhibition showed why cocoa production needs to be made sustainable so the chocolate trade stays viable and farmers can make an independent living.
The exhibition attracted around 35,000 visitors and is now touring other locations like Fabrique Magnifique in Veghel.
From words to action
Companies are increasingly pledging to buy from sustainable suppliers and invest in good business practice. Nonetheless, some businesses do better than others at honouring these Corporate Social Responsibility commitments.
When agreements are not adhered to it demotivates producers and weakens the market for sustainable goods. As such, Solidaridad Netherlands spent 2013 focusing our attention on underperformers – companies that do not make good on their promises.
One such is example was the Dutch soy importers, who failed to increase the amount of soy they bought from RTRS certified producers in line with the agreed timetable.
In such cases Solidaridad aims to be a constructive yet critical partner. This can prompt a range of actions, which sometimes includes criticising companies to prompt them to act on their good intentions.
Expanding the debate
In the past, our work has focused on developing systems to ensure sustainable standards are upheld.
While this remains a key component of changing corporate behaviour, we believe there is also a need for a wider critical debate on the value of these systems. Are they able to address the root causes of poverty, or are supplementary measures needed?
Solidaridad Netherlands will use the information that emerges from such discussions to hone our methods in order to reflect the priorities of today’s producers and consumers.
Expanding the team
Soldidaridad the Netherlands had a budget of €18.9 million in 2013. This represents 57% of Solidaridad’s total budget worldwide.
Our Utrecht office has grown from 30.7 to 31.9 full-time equivalent staff in 2013. The office has addition responsibilities, including Livestock and Aquaculture supply chain programmes and a focus on tackling food insecurity, sustainable land-use, and access to financing.