North America

Solidaridad is driving change in the North American market through public and private partnerships for sustainable supply chain development, sensitizing market players on innovative sourcing approaches, developing investment mechanisms to support farmers and miners in global supply chains to achieve sustainability benchmarks, furthering commitments to sector-wide standards, promoting learning and participating in policy platforms.
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Where We Work

North America is a major market for commodities. Companies, foundations, and institutions across the continent are increasing their commitments to support sustainable production and promote resilient economies. Solidaridad North America partners with such organizations to achieve sustainability goals in developing regions, facilitating opportunities to build direct connections and drive impact for farmers, miners, and workers across the globe.

Challenges

The ripple effect of inequity

The political and economic climate in the region has the potential to dramatically impact both giving from institutional funders and corporations, as well as consumption and consumer priorities. The global stresses of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have a ripple effect through the supply chain, while at the other end, consumers, shareholders, and governments are increasingly demanding ethical practices from corporations.

Climate change is already wreaking havoc on supply chains worldwide, with smallholder producers, large corporations, and consumers increasingly feeling the effects in price fluctuation, availability of raw materials, food and livelihood security, and bottom lines. In a dramatically globalized market, sustainable environmental practices will shape the future for all.

Access to economic opportunity and prosperity remains a challenge for smallholder producers globally, especially women, youth, indigenous communities, and other marginalized populations. The challenge for corporations and donors alike remains how to support programming and policies that are inclusive and equitable, both domestically and across the world.

Although a growing number of stakeholders — including consumers, shareholders, and community members in production areas — are pushing companies to promote transparency, sustainability, and ethics within their operations and supply chains, a lack of ground-level and reliable data make this a difficult promise to deliver on.

Solutions

Driving tangible commitments

Solidaridad engages stakeholders to make tangible commitments that create more ethical and sustainable supply chains in the form of financial and technical support for global programmes. Through this, shaping conversations, and ensuring voices from every step of the supply chain are represented in key decisions, especially the most disadvantaged, such as small producers and factory workers.

There is no silver bullet for sustainability. Transformative change in the supply chain comes from collaboration and dynamic partnerships. Partnerships between private companies, philanthropic organizations, governments, and nonprofits like Solidaridad create important linkages between different players in the value chain, and can improve working conditions and economic opportunities for smallholder producers and workers.

Sensitization and education on alternative and responsible production and sourcing practices is a critical component of engaging and drawing in partners. Through strategic collaboration, communication, and implementation of innovative ideas and approaches, Solidaridad supports market actors to pursue new opportunities for furthering sustainability in their supply chains.

Solidaridad works to amplify the voices of smallholder farmers, miners, and workers means shaping conversations that will have benefits all along the supply chain, leading to more sustainable and efficient production, improved livelihoods, and increased resilience.

Achievements

Unlocking potential

2020 was a transformative year for North America in more ways than one. We grew our capacity, and signed $1.2 million in new contracts. We also sparked critical conversations with ten major global corporations around issues ranging from zero-deforestation and climate to transparency and labour practices. We boosted our visibility regionally by participating in or hosting panel discussions at three globally attended events including AgriLinks’ ICTforAg and SOCAP.

Transition and reflection

This was a year of transition and reflection. We progressed on building meaningful partnerships, and brought together stakeholders to address pressing issues in supply chain sustainability. With the onboarding of a new managing director, our lean team assessed the current internal and external landscape and rebuilt its strategy for 2020 and beyond. This included an analysis of the unique position we have to pursue opportunities for impact globally.

Growing recognition

The year 2018 saw Solidaridad begin to emerge from anonymity in North America. We were featured on national television, received a significant award, hosted a major conference and participated in numerous events, activities and publications throughout the year. In a region with more than a million non-governmental organizations, it has been a successful year for us.

Collaboration is key

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 focused 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.

A lean team with big goals

Small but effective – that is Solidaridad North America in a nutshell. With a lean team, Solidaridad is punching above its weight in terms of proposals developed and relationships managed. In 2016, Solidaridad developed proposals in collaboration with all regional centres in the Network, strengthened its connections across North America and managed relationships with both current and prospective supporters and partners.

Growing commitments

Solidaridad North America continues to develop significant partnerships with companies, foundations and government agencies, engaging in an ever-widening range of activities. The highlight of the year was the consummation of a partnership with the MasterCard Foundation to implement a five-year, $15 million youth empowerment programme in the cocoa sector of Ghana, starting in 2016.

Becoming a trusted advisor

Solidaridad has grown into its role as an adviser to North American consumer goods companies and private foundations on issues including sectoral trends, multi-stakeholder initiatives, opportunities and risks within supply chains, and we continue to form partnerships to achieve sustainability targets.

Budding partnerships

Together with establishing its presence in North America, Solidaridad establishes a partnership with Walmart Foundation to support female cotton farmers in China. Solidaridad also builds relationships with several networks and civil society organizations, including the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020.

Setting the stage

The North America office is established as a legal entity in the United States, enabling Solidaridad to engage strategically with key market players and institutions across the region. Focused on partnership building, the office will support network-wide activities designed to promote sustainable land use and strengthen commodity supply chains.

Change that matters with partners who care. Find out what we can achieve together.

Get in touch

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


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2120 University Ave
Berkeley, CA, 94708
northamerica@solidaridadnetwork.org

Michaelyn Baur
Managing Director, North America
michaelyn@solidaridadnetwork.org

Jennifer Horning
Head of Corporate Engagement
jennifer.horning@solidaridadnetwork.org

Madhyama Subramanian
Head of Programmes and Partnerships
madhyama@solidaridadnetwork.org

Continental Supervisory Board

Kannan Pashupathy and Chris Wolz

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