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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CREATING CHANGE THAT MATTERS
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.
Solidaridad Network Executive Director
DIGITAL TOOLS TRANSFORM THE FUTURE OF FARMING
Solidaridad experts observed rapid innovation in product development and farming practices, especially with the advancement of technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain technologies. Digital tools provide a wealth of information that enables targeted technical assistance at an individual level. They also support the design of programmes that tackle farmers’ most common challenges.
In Bangladesh, the Dutch ministry extended support for coastal aquaculture. Solidaridad started the conversion of ponds for integrated mangrove-shrimp culture as part of research led by Wageningen and Khulna Universities. Solidaridad also began the Myanmar Sustainable Aquaculture Programme, an EU-funded multi-partner programme of 20 million euros. The Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal (STIP) team expanded. As part of its corporate engagement programme, STIP built transparency and sustainability dialogues with over 250 global seafood importers and exporters.
Solidaridad took significant steps for the cocoa sector in 2017, especially in West Africa. It engaged public and private organizations to secure co-funding to upscale activities, enable new businesses and enhance environmental governance. Solidaridad also designed a climate-smart business case for cocoa producers and enhanced multi-stakeholder platforms in order to promote landscape governance and influence public and private policies to reduce deforestation.
Digital tools offer enormous potential to enhance sustainability efforts. In 2017, Solidaridad commenced a digital journey with coffee farmers in both Peru and Colombia to focus on improving agricultural practices. The use of digital tools and farming data compliments Solidaridad’s existing work in these countries. Building on this knowledge ensures that new interventions are tailored to the specific needs of producers, and in a more efficient, more affordable manner.
Continuous improvement at all levels of the supply chain is essential to achieve a sustainable cotton sector. Solidaridad engages directly with all stakeholders to understand their needs and identify sustainable solutions. Its experts work at a strategic level to promote cotton sustainability standards and have an active role in the development of national policies. Solidaridad promotes sustainable practices among all supply chain players and supports cotton farmers in moving toward a more sustainable future.
Dairy is potentially a cash cow for farmers, but often it is unable to live up to expectations. Optimizing production can make it more climate-smart and sustainable. Professionalizing the whole value chain is the key to success and the reason why business development is relevant for farmers, service providers, fodder producers and dairy processors. Solidaridad is catalyzing and supporting this using tailored methods in different countries.
As the global population urbanizes, fruit and vegetables will be key to nutritional security. More than 90% of fruit and vegetables are consumed in the country of production. While domestic markets are growing fast, production and supply chains are fragmented and informal and not ready to satisfy these growing markets. The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 746 million worldwide in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014 and is expected to surpass 6 billion by 2045. Much of this growth will be in developing countries. As a result, these countries will face many challenges in meeting the food and nutrition needs of their populations.
Solidaridad introduced an innovative model, the Accelerator for Responsible Gold, in 2017 in response to the rapid global growth of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). By developing a small business incubator, Solidaridad will enable entrepreneurs to deliver the equipment and knowledge needed for responsible ASM and adopt good practices faster. The global spotlight on gender inequity in 2017 was reflected in Solidaridad’s growing focus on women’s economic empowerment in ASM in both established and new partnerships.
In the project “Pollution prevention and efficient water use in the Kanpur Unnao leather cluster” in India and in the Green Tanning Initiative in Ethiopia, Solidaridad has kick-started promoting sustainability in the leather sector, in partnership with local stakeholders and global actors in the value chain.
In Colombia, palm oil producers and industry leaders have committed to eliminating deforestation from their palm oil supply chains. Colombia is the first country to present a national agreement on deforestation. In West Kalimantan Indonesia, 1,885 farmers were trained in good agricultural practices and 1,891 farmers were trained in financial literacy. In the village of Sepulut, a total of 14,16 hectares of communal forest was mapped and a regent decree was secured to ensure the forest’s protection.
The Solidaridad Global Soy Team is working with partner organizations to address soy sustainability issues across the Solidaridad Network. Solidaridad is proud to move beyond certification and build strategic partnerships to collaborate with diverse stakeholders including civil society organizations, the public and the private sector. The soy value chain is facing systemic challenges which require an integrated vision to ensure a positive impact.
As well as input and output price variability, the sugar sector remains susceptible to shocks related to climate (drought, floods or cold spells), biotics (pests and diseases) and finance (cashflow, liquidity and interest rate changes). Productivity and labour issues can also be sources of stress. Smallholders are the worst affected. Solidaridad promotes value chain partnerships by building trust and transparency, making commitments and pooling resources. This enables smallholders to become entrepreneurs and manage their farms as businesses.
Solidaridad has achieved consensus on sustainable governance within the tea sector. It has been able to improve the livelihoods of farmers through raising awareness on the benefits of collectivisation and encouraging them to form self-help groups. Solidaridad also enhanced the understanding of tea pricing for small-scale farmers. While prevailing certification standards still have limitations, they provide an opportunity to engage with the tea industry stakeholders through national platforms and allow for discussions around more complex issues which cannot be addressed through certification alone. Solidaridad has been able to leverage these new approaches to gradually transform beyond the certification agenda.
Solidaridad believes a sustainable industry can also be a competitive one. To ensure sustainability is part of the sector’s growth strategy, it continues to bring key stakeholders together and sustainable practices to scale. Meanwhile, Solidaridad has seen continued expansion into countries where there is a large availability of cheap labour. Further, due to a lack of scalability of many improvement programmes, the environmental impact of washing, dyeing and finishing textiles is not decreasing.
Solidaridad is an international network organization with a culturally diverse staff. People, learning and development are key factors which help the global organization to realize Solidaridad’s vision and strategy. Our HR strategy ‘Growth through Connection’ emphasizes the strength of an interconnected learning organization, which is open for, and has trust in, the talents, expertise and knowledge of its staff.
NETWORK FINANCES IN 2017
The Solidaridad Network implementation budget for 2017 was lower than budgeted and also lower than in previous years. 2017 was a key year in which new contracts were agreed with donors. Spending of those contracts however, was lower than anticipated in the year.
As in previous years, Solidaridad Europe held the largest share of contracted income, but financial contributions from other regional expertise centres (REC) are growing each year. These indicators confirm the effectiveness of Solidaridad’s innovative model of continental contracting, supported by a continental governance system.
The total amount that Solidaridad Network invested in 2017 was €39.7 million against a budgeted investment of €55 million. The budget for the year was set at an ambitious target. New contracts were agreed but spending of the contracted funding was lower than anticipated for the year.
Consolidated financial statements for all entities of Solidaridad Network are not prepared. The audited financial statements of each regional expertise centre can be found on the respective annual report pages for those centres as soon as they are final.
The figures below present the aggregated income figures of all entities within Solidaridad Network; all independently contracted income of each Solidaridad Office together forms an income for all of the Network of € 39.7 million.
Solidaridad Network Income Statement 2017
|INCOME||2017 Actual||2017 Budget||2016 Actual|
|Solidaridad South America||1,596||1,786||4,969|
|Solidaridad Central America||95||32||14|
|Solidaridad West Africa||3,958||2,070||4,594|
|Solidaridad Southern Africa||1,569||845||4,132|
|Solidaridad East & Central Africa||1,286||1,786||2,772|
|Solidaridad South & South-East Asia||7,980||4,762||7,620|
|Solidaridad North America||217||5,131||322|
|Estimated income in pipeline||0||14,922||0|
NETWORK GROWTH PER CONTINENT
OVERALL NETWORK GROWTH
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
- Fundación Solidaridad Latinoamericana
- Stichting Interkerkelijk Aktie voor Latijns Amerika – Solidaridad. Lima, Peru
- Solidaridad Network West Africa
- Solidaridad East and Central Africa Expertise Center (SECAEC)
- Solidaridad Network Southern Africa NGO Mozambique Office
- Solidaridad Network Foundation Limited Zambia
- The Solidaridad Network South Africa Trust