Annual Report 2020
Enabling policy environment
Solidaridad Europe advocates for a policy environment that supports a sustainable and inclusive global economy. We have thus brought 39 issues to the agenda of policy makers and contributed to 3 new regulations that take into account the perspective of smallholder farmers and miners.
Together with companies, Solidaridad supports global sustainable sector transformation. We worked with 47 European corporate partners to implement comprehensive policies and innovative inclusive business models for sustainable sourcing, production and investments.
Access to finance
Crowdfunding platform PlusPlus was launched and began its operation. The aim of PlusPlus is connecting private investors in the Netherlands with small and medium-sized food entrepreneurs (borrowers) in Asia, Africa and Latin America to provide the latter with the much needed access to finance. These entrepreneurs play a key role in creating jobs and improving the livelihoods of the rural communities.
A key goal of Solidaridad Europe was to diversify and increase income from new and existing institutional donors and foundations. We signed new donor contracts with a total value of 78 million euros to continue working globally in the years to come towards sustainable and inclusive supply chains.
We raised awareness through publicity about the urgent need to support farmers and workers in various supply chains to create a global sustainable economy. The extensive reach (750 million people potentially reached) has helped us to create more European support for Solidaridad’s mission.
The new European Multi-Annual Strategic Plan 2021-2025 was developed and published. We also strengthened planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning in various projects, corporate partnerships, and at the organizational level.
A deep dive
2020 brought incredible challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic, but also incredible opportunities. New partnerships, increased funding commitments, and headway in policy influencing paint the way for greater impact in this coming strategic period.
From campaigns and policy advocacy to framework creations and direct funding, farmers and workers were centered in everything we did. The emphasis on greater social inclusion spanned across our work as well, carving out more space for marginalized groups to influence agendas.
Organization & governance
Covid-19 provided an incentive to accelerate the development of a Work From Home Policy, including financial and ICT support to enable staff to continue working from home and protect their health. Throughout the year we have emphasized continued connectivity among staff and made sure that everyone has stayed tuned with organizational developments. Alleviating stress of staff caused by the pandemic was another focal point.
Despite Covid-19 and the challenges that working from home can bring, the sickness rate of 4.4 percent was only just over the 4 percent figure set as the maximum. The attrition rate was relatively high at 16.3 percent (compared to the maximum set at 14 percent). Although challenging, recruitment and on-boarding of new staff members have continued in 2020. The organization has grown from 49.5 to 56.4 full time equivalents.
In 2020 we have reviewed our integrity framework and made some improvements based on lessons learnt, especially in responding to a breach and how to conduct an investigation. We have gained better understanding of what steps need to be taken and what kind of research is appropriate in conducting an investigation. You can find the latest versions of the Code of Conduct and the Whistleblower Procedure here. They provide clear guidelines and a moral compass. In addition, we have improved our procedures for responding to cross-border behaviour or a breach of integrity, and developed guidelines on how to conduct an investigation. We have started with organizing a Solidaridad Network community of Integrity Advisors.
In 2020 we received no new reports about integrity issues. One complaint in 2019 was managed well with thorough investigation by an external party and clear communication with key stakeholders in 2020.
Solidaridad Europe compensates for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the energy use in its offices as well as travel through the cooperation with BanCO2, a Colombian initiative that rewards coffee farmers for environmental services, such as reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and planting trees.
A number of big donor contracts came to an end in 2020, and new contracts were signed. These multi-annual contracts are the financial backbone for Solidaridad Network.
In 2020 the income and expenditures of Solidaridad Europe (the Netherlands and Germany) were in line with the planned budgets. While Covid-19 has delayed some of the programmes and the related expenditures, the total expenditures on structural aid were higher than expected. Meanwhile, the costs for communication and income generation were lower. Solidaridad Europe has sold its shares in AgroFair BV, a tropical fruit company producing and importing fairtrade organic fruit that has been established by Solidaridad in 1996. We sold our shares to the fruit producers themselves. We also sold our shares in STIP BV, a Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal set up by Solidaridad to increase the transparency in the global aquaculture supply chains. Together with Lendahand and 2 other organisations we invested in PlusPlus (AgriCrowd BV).
The total actual income of Solidaridad Europe in 2020 was 34,479,121 euros. The expenditures amounted to 35,261,810 euros. The interest and income generated from investments were positive at 841,229 euros. This has resulted in a final surplus of 58,540 euros in 2020.
Solidaridad has designated a continuity reserve. Guidelines by the Dutch Association of Fundraising Organizations (Goede Doelen Nederland) require a reserve which is between 1.0 and 1.5 times the annual costs of maintaining the operational structure. The continuity reserve on 31 December 2020 was 6,810,053 euros, which is 1.3 times the annual costs of maintaining the operational structure.
The costs of income generation in 2020 were 735,859 euros, which is 2.1 percent of the total income of 34,479,121 euros.
Of the total expenditures of 35,261,810 euros 95.7 percent was spent on structural aid, 2.1 percent on income generation, 1.7 percent on communication and information and 0.6 percent on management and administration.
The full annual accounts have been drawn up in accordance with the Guideline for Fundraising Institutions (Richtlijn Fondsenwervende instellingen: RJ 650), which is part of the accounting standards produced by the Dutch Accounting Standards Board (Raad voor de Jaarverslaggeving).