Solidaridad: 50 years

Solidaridad is proud to celebrate 50 years of making value chains more sustainable.

Read more about our rich history on this page.


Learn how we work to bring about change that matters.

About Us

In everything we do, we are driven by our vision and mission. We seek partnerships with others, collaborate with industries and aspire to be a financially sustainable organization. We will always ensure that what we do contributes to our vision of a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes the benefit for all.

  • Vision

    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. 

    Today, the global economy is not organized in a sustainable way. Many of us now realize that an unsustainable way of life threatens food security, our planet and our businesses. With a world population projected to grow to 9 billion people by 2050, we can only be fed if the agricultural sector makes a transition to smart and sustainable land use. And, as fossil fuel use becomes increasingly problematic, a  transition to a bio-based economy is needed. Farmers worldwide therefore have a bright future as providers of food and suppliers of renewable energy and raw materials. They link as never before the issues of food security for developing countries and prosperity for the world as a whole.

    Many of us now realize that an unsustainable way of life threatens our food security, our planet and our businesses.

    There is one agenda, one challenge: We have to produce more with less, and ensure that it is done in a way that sustains people and the environment. Optimizing land use is the first step towards a solution. Increased production must meet growing demand, but with fewer negative consequences for people and the environment. More efficient production must be coupled with less pollution. There must be greater precision in the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and a reduction in the use of water and energy. Waste then becomes a thing of the past. Losses in the supply chain are reduced. Forests are no longer cut down and additional land is no longer needed because existing agricultural land is being used more efficiently.

    There is a single agenda and a single challenge: we must  produce more with less and ensure that it's done in a way that sustains people and the environment.

    An inclusive economy - one in which people can participate fully - is needed. It should start with the recognition of the potential of smallholder farmers and women, who are often the leading drivers of sustainable change.  It must respect workers’ rights, provide a safe and healthy workplace, and support a living income for farmers and workers. 

    For children, school is the best place to work. Mining and industry need to switch to a responsible means of production. Workers' rights are respected and the environment is preserved for future generations, keeping its potential intact.

    The change we seek is a market process driven by the private sector.  However, civil society organizations and governments play an essential role in enabling and encouraging change.  In this process, Solidaridad is a transition manager.  We back farmers who are economically poor but have rich potential, entrepreneurial men and women, and workers who want to build their livelihoods on a fair income.  Solidaridad partners with all parties in the supply chain, so that everyone can be involved in creating change that matters.

  • Mission

    Our mission is to bring together supply chain players and engage them with innovative solutions to improve production, ensuring the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes the benefit for all. 

    Solidaridad is a network organization for international cooperation that draws inspiration from the vision, values and capacities of people all over the world.

    Solidaridad is a transition manager, focusing on producer support and sustainable supply chain and market development. We partner with those who want to make a difference by changing business practices from being a part of the problem to being a part of the solution.  Markets have to work for the poor, and companies are the key change makers.

    From a shared vision to change that matters.

    Our aim is to make an impact by being the best in building partnerships, in piloting and scaling up programmes, in learning and innovation.

    Without a dream there is no first step. At the beginning there are no paved roads; simply by starting to walk, a path is created. Knowledge and values are needed. Skilled and motivated people are our capital. We are realists with a mission. We turn shared vision into meaningful impact in communities.


  • Fully realised in 2014, the new Solidaridad organizational structure has been designed to maximize international development cooperation, capacity, transparency, accountability, performance and impact.

    This allows us to develop and implement international and regional policy and programmes in the most effective way possible. We operate under a common vision and mission, and are fully aligned around consistent and comprehensive international commodity strategies.

    Read more about our organization


  • 2018

    As awareness of environmental challenges continues to mount, both private and government players increasingly recognize that a sustainable, climate-resilient approach to global trade is key. To address these challenges, Solidaridad’s global network worked with over 632,000 farmers, miners and workers to adopt good practices - beating our own targets by reaching 20,000 more people than we’d aimed to. We also helped to improve the income of 235,000 producers by engaging stakeholders within 334 projects. Together our partners and experts brought nearly a million hectares of land under climate-smart management practices.

  • 2017

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

  • 2016

    The year 2016 was one of global change, not least for the Solidaridad Network. The organization adapted to complex political changes in regions where Solidaridad is active, built capacity in the global network and explored opportunities presented by emerging technologies. These dynamic times call for innovative approaches. Armed with a new strategy, Solidaridad hopes to contribute to a future that is more robust, resilient and inclusive for all.

  • 2015

    Solidaridad evaluated its sustainable development agenda and laid the foundation for moving forward with an evolved strategy for the next five years. Climate change and worker health were prominent international themes that influenced Solidaridad's work. With a new strategy and ongoing organizational growth, Solidaridad is rising to meet the challenges ahead by building upon a history of achievement, including major results for farmers, miners and workers.

  • 2014

    Unilever and Solidaridad announced a new strategic partnership to improve the lives of 1 million people in Unilever’s extended supply chains. The partnership focuses on promoting gender equity, improving agricultural and labour practices as well as supporting young agricultural entrepreneurs and land management.

  • 2013

    Solidaridad Network announced its first official world-wide ‘grouped’ results: 571,769 farmers supported, 179,169 workers supported and 5,420 miners with a total of 1,073,280 hectares under sustainable management worldwide. Since 2010, Solidaridad has been working with more than 145 businesses world wide, in cooperation with other stakeholders, to achieve change that matters.

  • 2012

    Solidaridad co-pioneers Rural Horizons, a knowledge-based software solution to help farmers improve production and gain access to new markets.

    Visit Rural Horizons

  • 2010

    After 34 years, ecumenical cooperation with churches came to an end and the Solidaridad Network is founded. This shift meant a new legal structure that works with shared policy and management responsibilities and global governance by a network Board of Directors. Local cooperation with ecumenical partners continues to date. 

  • 2007

    Solidaridad began a gradual change from a Dutch development organisation into a global network by decentralising programme implementation into 6 regional offices (since 2012, there have been 10 regional offices).

  • 2006

    Solidaridad co-founded and became an active member of supply chain round tables for policy development and cooperation. Through these efforts, Solidaridad supports mainstream, business-driven initiatives that strive to include all stakeholders. Solidaridad currently participates in the following round tables: soy (RTRS), palm oil (RSPO), sugarcane (Bonsucro), and cotton (BCI).

  • 2004

    Solidaridad establishes the Made-By Foundation, an alliance of more than 30 fashion brands committed to more sustainable production. The spread of the Made-By concept was particularly successful in the UK and the Netherlands, especially the innovative ‘score card’ developed to assess the sustainability performance of brands.

  • 2002

    In 2002, Solidaridad reached an agreement with the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn to turn their company label Utz Kapeh into a generally accessible CSR concept with a more professional structure and way of working.

    The coffee roaster Douwe Egberts joined the initiative and soon after, many more coffee roasters around the world followed the example. The product range was expanded and Utz Certified became a world player in this market. More recently, Utz Certified and Rainforest Alliance began the process towards a merge, which hereby resulted in the largest certification label in the world market.

  • 2001

    Solidaridad established Kuyichi, the first sustainable, high-end fashion company in Europe.

  • 1996

    Solidaridad established the first fresh fruit company, AgroFair, co-owned by banana producers from Africa and Latin America. This led to the successful introduction of Fair Trade OKE and organic EKO OKE bananas into the European market.

  • 1991

    Solidaridad co-founded a network organisation for Fair Trade initiatives in Europe, culminating in the establishment of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO). This helped to further spread Fair Trade labelling across Europe and the world.

  • 1988

    Solidaridad founded the Max Havelaar Foundation and launched of the first Fair Trade label for sustainable coffee. The successful launch of Fair Trade coffee within The Netherlands helped spark the global Fair Trade movement.

  • 1984

    Nico Roozen joined Solidaridad (later becomes Director in 1989) and the organisation began a national campaign for sustainable coffee that generates broad support throughout Dutch society.

  • 1976

    Protestant churches joined Solidaridad to constitute a unique, formal ecumenical organisation known as the Solidaridad Foundation. This resulted in ecumenical cooperation in support of grassroot movements in Latin America in and outside of the churches.

  • 1969

    Solidaridad was established by Catholic bishops in The Netherlands through an Advent campaign to provide development aid to Latin America. This resulted in the commitment of Dutch Catholic parishes for development cooperation.

Proven approaches for the future of sustainability


  • One of Solidaridad’s main challenges is to explore, test and prove new concepts to overcome barriers to sustainable development. To achieve this, Solidaridad focuses on five predetermined innovation areas. In partnership with private and public actors, we can identify barriers, develop approaches to scale up solutions, build alliances to finance the proofs of concept and find venues to communicate and disseminate the proven concepts.

    This allows us to develop and implement international and regional policy and programmes in the most effective way possible. We operate under a common vision and mission, and are fully aligned around consistent and comprehensive international commodity strategies.

    Read more about our innovation areas


  • Developing mutually beneficial partnerships is perhaps the single most important aspect of our work in reconciling social and ecological responsibility with market and supply chain realities.

    As such, we partner with hundreds of players of all shapes, forms, and sizes from across global supply chains — from local producers and associations, supply chain service and input providers, to governments, civil society, policy and decision-makers, CSR leaders, leading global brands, and consumers.

    Read more about our partnerships