An Innovative Approach

Solidaridad's ambition is not to work directly with millions of farmers and miners or thousands of factories. Instead, through our partnerships, we aim to provide proofs of concept to producers, producer country governments, companies and major development programmes. We will consider our approaches to be successful when we see these concepts being copied and scaled up.

The five innovation areas for Solidaridad are described in more detail below: Climate Change Mitigation, Digital Solutions, Gender & Inclusivity, Impact Investment and Sustainable Landscapes Management

1. Climate Change Mitigation

"Unfortunately, climate change is already inevitable. Agriculture and the associated land use changes, such as deforestation, are important sources of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. At the same time, farmers are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, such as more intense droughts, floods and rising temperatures. To compound the issue, farmers and their workers don't have access to financial opportunities that support climate-smart approaches, as most instruments focus on large energy and forestry projects. That's why we are integrating climate-smart approaches across our entire programming and linking farmers with supportive financial outlets." - Nadine Planzer, Climate Innovation Manager (email)


  • Development of appropriate greenhouse gas calculators for producers and producer groups;
  • Integration of climate performance indicators in farmer self-assessment tools;
  • Development of benefit-sharing mechanisms for (farming) communities in areas where governments receive multilateral (World Bank or UN) climate funds.

2. Digital Solutions

"Offering and developing sustainability solutions via digital technology makes it possible to address sustainability issues which were hard to solve until recently. Advances in digital technology now provide rural communities with an unprecedented opportunity to overcome isolation, improve communication, bridge knowledge gaps and adapt." - Pieter Sijbrandij, Digital Solutions Manager (email)

Digital tools, like smartphones, tablets and laptops, have become increasingly available and affordable. The digital infrastructure is already being put in place, so now is the time to make sure these technologies are used to support sustainability. Solidaridad wants to lead this process, and include farmers and miners from the start, especially the poorest and most remote. In order to protect the interests of these groups, the digital applications used for technology-driven sustainability programmes will run on neutral platforms to which anyone can connect, rather than proprietary platforms for a selected few.

Through dedicated applications, farmers upload their knowledge, but also receive customized recommendations on the best practices. This allows for permanent training in a time and cost-effective manner, and continual improvements. Solidaridad recognizes the power of data and sees the potential of harnessing raw data for transformative knowledge. Being at the forefront of these developments offers Solidaridad the opportunity to be a truly innovative knowledge organization providing scalable solutions in a speedy manner for sustainable production worldwide.


  • Knowledge sharing
  • Easily accessible and tailored recommendations
  • Extensive analyses for policy development

3. Gender & Inclusivity

"Solidaridad’s understanding of inclusive development takes into account the needs, potential, participation and contribution of men and women equally. At present, most of the sectors in which we work, women are not part of the formal economy and do not equally benefit from it, or are even negatively affected by it." - Njeri Kimotho, Diversity & Inclusivity Specialist (email)

Solidaridad’s current programming is based on its “3-tier business case” of gender inclusivity:

  • Increased quantity of impact by tapping into the unused economic potential of women;
  • Increased quality of impact by increasing (gender) diversity in the formal economies and society;
  • Increased sustainability of impact by empowering women in their social influence on the education of children and redistribution of wealth in communities.

Current barriers to the equal participation of men and women in economies and landscapes need to be addressed. Solidaridad designs and organizes projects from the perspective of gender equity. Sensitization and training of Solidaridad staff and partners is part of this approach, as is specific attention for capacity building and social and economic empowerment of women. To create an enabling environment for gender inclusivity, Solidaridad’s lobbying and advocacy activities will include gender-specific interests. Strategic partnerships, adequate funding and a smart use of technology will support this process.


  • Generate gender-sensitive programming and impact measurement;
  • Develop best practices for economic independence, equal access to education, full participation in society and free choice of profession for women working in agriculture and mining.

4. Impact investment

"To make sustainable practices more attractive for markets and financial institutions, we are developing clear business cases and investment opportunities for investors who seek more benefits than financial return only. Our donors are encouraged by the fact that their funds help to leverage additional commercial finance." - Frederik Claasen, Impact Investment Specialist (email)

At the producer level, Solidaridad supports farmers on improving their business case and attracting impact-driven private sector investments. To be successful, farmers need to be able to rely on a robust rural infrastructure of agricultural companies and cooperatives delivering services and products they need. Solidaridad supports the development of such an infrastructure by mitigating the business risks for these companies and cooperatives using (local) private sector investments.

At the landscape level, Solidaridad supports farmers and consortia of companies to develop a bankable business case for landscape-level interventions like carbon reduction, water management and decreased deforestation.

At the country level, Solidaridad advocates for responsible finance practices among leading public and private investors, providing that investments be guided by social and environmental checks, balances and safeguards.


  • Linking investors to programmes;
  • Developing business cases and investable proposals.

5. Sustainable Landscapes Management

"Growing pressure on land, water and natural resources increasingly undermines the earth’s capacity to sustain us. In light of the demand for these scarce resources, the interests of more vulnerable groups in developing countries are often ignored. We bring together smallholder producers and influential economic players to ensure that landscapes are used in a way that improves biodiversity, as well as taking into account the environment, and the social and economic interests of the people working on the land. This requires investments in research, training, promotion, monitoring, and active support from local and regional authorities." - Yvette Faber, Sustainable Landscapes Manager (email)


  • Organizing convening processes which enable different stakeholders to contribute and bridge the polarization between the green agenda and the agricultural agenda;
  • Generating good practices for good governance;
  • Developing marketing concepts for sustainable “origin” labelling.

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