Solidaridad was founded in 1969 in the Netherlands, and has since evolved into a leader of global sustainability initiatives. We engage European market actors, including corporations and governments, to commit to fair and sustainable value chains, contributing to an economy that works for all.
Smallholders from global south take the stage for inclusive CSDDD Read featured story

Where We Work

Solidaridad’s Europe office generates support and commitments for making international value chains more sustainable, with a focus on improving livelihoods of farmers, miners and workers around the world. With offices in the Netherlands and Germany, representation in the UK, and partnerships in various European countries, there are ample opportunities to influence corporations, governments and citizens to take up and commit to more sustainable practices.


regulatory frameworks in place in Europe


corporates improved their sustainability policies, practices and inclusive business models


citizens were mobilized to demand a sustainable economy


Excess extraction

European market actors extract too much value from remote communities and ecosystems. As a result, many farmers, workers and miners live in poverty, while our biosphere and atmosphere are degrading rapidly. Only when European market actors commit to sustainability, and are ready to pay for it, can we facilitate the transition to an economy that works for everyone and safeguards the planet for future generations.

We have seen some turbulent years worldwide recently, with growing socio-political divisions that have become increasingly visible; in Europe this has included demonstrations by European farmers as well as climate activists. Citizens are worried about their social and economic well-being, now and in the coming years. Within this context, tackling global challenges requires partnerships and collaborations, which is an essential part of Solidaridad’s work.

Our global economy in unequal. European economic priorities are centered in the region itself, often lacking conversation around the interconnectedness of the global supply chain. Many products sold here are grown, made or mined far away by people who are vulnerable to poverty. In particular, female factory workers, farmers and small-scale miners are severely affected.

Voluntary sustainability initiatives haven’t led to sufficient impact. Supply chains are still troubled by deforestation, unsustainable practices, and underpaid farmers and workers. We need a smart mix of measures – mandatory frameworks, voluntary initiatives, supporting policies — to ensure all products sold at the European market are produced in a sustainable way. Solidaridad has continuously advocated in the recent years for smallholder-inclusive implementation of the EU legislation around Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) and the European Deforestation Regulation (EUDR); read more on this under our ‘solutions’ section.

Climate change is the major challenge of our time. Despite governments and companies increasingly committing to fighting climate change and allocating resources in their policies, mitigation strategies and climate financing still fall behind. Meanwhile, the producers (farmers, workers, miners) are often the ones who suffer most from the impact of climate change.


Creating meaningful connections

Tackling supply chain inequity requires a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder approach. Through advocacy, media engagement, working in partnership with companies, and fundraising, Solidaridad is creating a supportive environment for meaningful policy changes and programme implementation around the world.

Regulatory frameworks and sustainability policies are essential to ensure that products sold at the European market are produced in a sustainable way. We continuously work on establishing and maintaining cooperation with public and private sector decision makers to foster our advocacy efforts in this area.

There’s increasing political momentum in Europe for regulatory frameworks promoting sustainable production. The European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) is an important legislation to foster the sustainability of international supply chains, and jointly with coalition partners, Solidaridad has lobbied to help ensure that the Directive is implemented in a smallholder-inclusive way. Moreover, the final European Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) entered into force in 2023, and will also have an important impact on smallholders and supply chains, and must be implemented in a way that prioritizes the interests and livelihoods of producers worldwide.

The private sector is pivotal in enabling sustainable production, trade and investments as well as stimulating demand for sustainably-produced products. Companies are increasingly pledging to invest in good production practices, though implementation is variable. Solidaridad is a constructive yet critical partner, calling on companies to make and live up to sustainability promises, and to adopt new inclusive business models.

We work in partnership with corporations to encourage  them to make genuine choices in favour of sustainability, implementing sustainability policies and embracing new inclusive business models.

We activate European citizens and consumers to raise their voices for a more sustainable and inclusive economy. We encourage them to demand that companies and governments ensure that goods are produced in a sustainable and responsible way.

We are a trusted partner to our donors and supporters. We work to ensure a growing and diversified stream of funding for the continued implementation of our global programmes. We engage with donors across Europe and at the European Union level.

In Europe Solidaridad actively contributes to innovative solutions, promoting transparency and traceability in global supply chains. By providing verified farmer data, we create transparency, leading to a fairer value distribution. We promote innovative inclusive business models with increased farmer ownership for truly sustainable sourcing, production, trade and investment.

Inclusive practices and policies are essential in reclaiming sustainability as a practice that benefits all equally, and creates lasting, positive change.  This means that the role of, and impact on, women, youth, minority groups, and people with disabilities, among others, are taken into account.


Engaging partners for sustainable impact

Solidaridad Europe generates support and commitments for making global value chains more sustainable, with a focus on farmers, miners and workers in producing countries beyond Europe’s borders. Collaboration with stakeholders is vital in our work, including donors and companies, knowledge institutes and civil society organizations. We continue to engage with European partners and further explore opportunities to create a sustainable and inclusive impact.

Stieneke van der Graaf (right), former member of Dutch Second Chamber and Heske Verburg, at coffee campaign in The Hague

Advocating for systemic change

Europe is highly dependent on trade for its daily needs, supplied by billions of smallholder farmers, miners and workers in agricultural, industrial and services sectors elsewhere. Many European companies and governments show little interest in defending the rights of stakeholders outside Europe. Solidaridad strives to make smallholder farmers’ and workers’ voices from across the globe heard in Europe. 

We also bolstered our advocacy work through communications and campaigning activities geared at gaining support from the European public for more sustainable and inclusive policies, such as the Good Clothes, Fair Pay campaign, and the special Signastore we opened in the week of Black Friday to collect signatures from citizens in the Netherlands.  

Signastore, Black Friday campaign 2022 Ⓒ Jaimi Nieli / Solidaridad

Activating citizens to raise their voices

In 2021 we worked on a collaborative citizen campaign that demanded the Dutch government to put in place Dutch legislation requiring companies to respect human rights and the environment in their value chains. This campaign resulted in 40,000 signatures offered collectively by a group of Civil Society Organizations to the Dutch parliament.

And on Black Friday we organized a ‘protest’ campaign in the Netherlands to draw the public’s attention to the vulnerable position of the makers of our clothes. It involved 30 mannequins that symbolized the ‘stripped-down’ textile workers. They were holding signs with slogans about wrongdoing in the textile industry. 

Catalyzing change

2020 marked a year of meaningful relationship building—fostering connections and shared ambitions with existing partners and funders, and sparking dialogues with new partners and donors to scale impact. We signed new donor contracts worth 78 million euros and brought 39 issues to policy maker agendas, putting the smallholder producer at the center. We also brought funding opportunities directly to smallholders through the launch of the PlusPlus crowdfunding platform.

Campaigning for a living income for farmers and workers

Public awareness of the importance of a living income for smallholder farmers and workers grew in 2019. Our pop-up store in Amsterdam in November — as part of our anti-Black Friday campaign — exposed the low prices farmers receive for their products and drew significant media attention. Solidaridad played an active role in the conversation on how to achieve living incomes for people at the beginning of supply chains. We advocated for more sustainable public and private policies, and crafted meaningful initiatives with corporate partners. Solidaridad also celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, with an international conference about sustainable development, attended by our partners from various regions.

Working towards long-term, sector-wide impact

We continued to work towards long-term, sector-wide impact across a range of commodities in far-reaching partnerships with, among other companies, Henkel and Syngenta. While the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Postcode Lottery remained primary donors, Solidaridad broadened its donor base further.

Strengthening our value proposition to European partners

In 2017, we continued to work on strengthening our value proposition towards our European partners, including companies, policy makers, donors, knowledge partners as well as the media, and consumers in the Netherlands. In the autumn of 2017, we launched a coffee campaign for the Dutch market to increase awareness about the persistent negative impact of climate change on the production of coffee and the livelihoods of the coffee farmers. Our campaign gained visibility in the Dutch media thanks to the campaign video and the ‘No Coffee’ Bar concept.

Solidaridad’s Farmer Support Programme gives new boost for further resources

In 2016, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave its partnership with Solidaridad a fresh boost following the evaluation of the successful Farmer Support Programme. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen, signed agreements with Solidaridad allocating a total of €80 million by 2020. The strategic partnership is compliant with the ministry’s “aid for trade” policy. Solidaridad has been a pioneer in reforming economies and development policy in this way for several decades.

A woman spreads a sacrifice over a coffee plant. A ceremony held three times a year to pray for the best conditions for growing coffee plants. © Olaf Hammelburg.

Towards a new strategy to tackle big global problems

In 2015, Europe was dealing with tough issues like the debt crisis, refugees, terrorism and weak economic growth. Public support for international collaboration and foreign aid was under pressure. In the corporate world, the Volkswagen scandal damaged public trust in how industry adheres to the law. Solidaridad’s answer to these growing populist and nationalist sentiments was clearly described in Solidaridad’s new multi-annual strategy. To solve the big global issues of the next generation, we need more international collaboration, institutional reforms and good governance.

In Europe, we partner with hundreds of players across global value chains, from corporations to knowledge institutes and civil society organizations. Find out what we can achieve together.

Get in touch

Want to know more about our work in Europe? Get in touch with our team.

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‘t Goylaan 15 
3525 AA Utrecht
The Netherlands
+31 (0)30 272 0313

Heske Verburg
Managing Director

Photo of Myrtille Danse, Head of Corporate Engagement and Partnerships, Solidaridad Europe

Myrtille Danse
Head of Corporate Engagement and Partnerships

Melanie Rutten-Sülz
Country Representative, Solidaridad Germany

Europe supervisory board

Our board members are (left to right): Carlos Alva Nieto, Claire Gentil, Jan Karel Mak (chairperson), Katrien Termeer, Marion Kappeyne van de Coppello, Martin Staehle. Kajsa Johansson is not present in the photo.

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