Internal and external evaluations indicate that our programmes are having a positive impact on the agricultural and mining sectors, as well as the fashion industry. In 2014, we were able to intensify our cooperation with companies along their supply chains and we increased the confidence funding agencies have in our operations.
To further improve upon the good practices of farmers, miners and industrial workers, we clearly need to define an ambitious, innovative agenda. This must include building more robust production-related infrastructures supported by an enabling policy environment that will make it possible to achieve lasting improvements. In addition, we need to increase the scale of our programmes and make them more mainstream by ensuring that sustainable, fair-trade programmes become part of government and corporate policies. Our goal is to see that policies of sustainability are adopted in an increasing range of sectors and markets.
While we work to ensure sustainable practices in large supply chains, we also support producers with smaller operations. In fact, thanks to our partners, Minera Yanaquihua, a small gold mine in Peru, received Responsible Jewellry Council (RJC) certification. This represents an important milestone because it proves that it’s possible for smaller mines to adopt responsible business practices in gold extraction and processing.
The past year was an exciting one for Solidaridad. Our activities are now well established and growing rapidly, which enables us to significantly increase the impact of Solidaridad programmes worldwide. The consolidated figures from the Solidaridad Network show about a 25% increase in our overall budget from approximately €34 million in 2013 to €42 million in 2014. This figure is slightly above target. In terms of staff, the Network increased from 277 employees worldwide in 2013 to 365 employees by the end of 2014. These are remarkable figures in a particularly challenging Official Development Assistance environment, which has resulted in much lower budgets for many of our colleague organizations.
I’m pleased to inform you that the 2014 Solidaridad Network annual report is now available online at www.solidaridadnetwork.org/annualreport. Our new site features an entire section dedicated to each global commodity, and a section pertaining to each of our regional expertise centres where we offer more insight on local activities and trends from last year. I hope you enjoy visiting our new website and that it inspires you to invest in partnerships that matter.
Solidaridad Network Executive Director