Solidaridad North America is the face of the Solidaridad Network throughout the region. We develop relationships with North American partners to facilitate the creation of socially responsible, environmentally sound, and economically viable commodity supply chains globally.
Climate change, increasing water scarcity, demanding customers and shareholders all signal the need for production and consumption systems that safeguard the environment, ensure the well-being of communities, and respect the bottom-lines of companies.
Governments, businesses, and consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to create food systems that increase production in a sustainable manner, while addressing poverty and food insecurity. North American consumer goods companies facing challenges in their supply chains are working towards ethical and sustainable sourcing of commodities.
Food safety, traceability, waste reduction, and the integration of digital technologies to improve food production are also rapidly gaining attention. Yet recent political developments in the USA make this a challenging time and Solidaridad is redoubling its efforts to further development of sustainable systems from farmer to consumer.
International consumer goods companies are making commitments to sustainable sourcing and producer support. However, making the commitments is often easier than implementing the steps necessary to achieve them.
Solidaridad North America, in close collaboration with the entire Solidaridad Network, helps companies achieve these goals by providing on-the-ground expertise and by developing innovative solutions to supply chain challenges. Together with philanthropic foundations and civil society organizations, Solidaridad North America identifies opportunities to increase the sustainability of commodity supply chains and mobilizes resources to achieve sector-wide change.
Since its establishment in 2012, Solidaridad North America has developed partnerships with philanthropic foundations and companies to implement innovative supply chain programmes for commodities such as cocoa, coffee, cotton, livestock, palm oil, soy, and sugarcane in countries as diverse as China, Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, Mexico, El Salvador, and India.
These initiatives have focused on protecting degraded ecosystems, while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of small producers, through capacity building for improved production practices, and facilitating access to finance and markets. A special emphasis on women and youth is integrated across all commodity programs.
Solidaridad has well-established relationships with foundations such as the Mastercard Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and corporate partners such as PepsiCo.
- Livestock, Soy
With the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s support Solidaridad developed a comprehensive strategy for sustainable agriculture approaches to reducing deforestation and avoiding extensive agricultural expansion in the Gran Chaco biome of South America. This work, undertaken by Solidaridad South America with support from Solidaridad North America, helped to shape a comprehensive multi-stakeholder approach: the Collaboration on Forests and Agriculture.
Empowering young farmers
Solidaridad North America led the development of a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, implemented by Solidaridad West Africa, as part of the Foundation’s Youth Forward Initiative. The $15 million, five-year, MASO programme focuses on youth empowerment in the cocoa sector of Ghana. Solidaridad North America also serves on the steering committee of the Youth Forward Initiative.
- Palm oil
Increasing yields and incomes
Funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, secured by Solidaridad North America, is supporting Solidaridad South and South East Asia’s programme on palm oil production in Indonesia that will increase yields and incomes of smallholder farmers, while avoiding both deforestation and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Supporting female farmers
The Walmart Foundation’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative supported a programme that complemented the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) training to address the needs of female farmers in China. Together with improving cotton production practices, the programme, implemented by Solidaridad China, focused on strengthening the leadership and entrepreneurship skills of women cotton farmers.
Improving worker health
The Kellogg Company supported Solidaridad in developing training materials to address the causes of Chronic Kidney Disease from non-Traditional causes (CKDnT), an epidemic affecting sugarcane cutters in Central America. This is part of a much larger initiative, funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, to attack the root causes of the disease. PepsiCo and Solidaridad’s partnership in India is promoting better farming techniques and water-saving practices that are improving the productivity and livelihoods of sugarcane farmers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shift the power: network organizations as a power for change
From Solidaridad's Honorary President, Nico Roozen: In the world of NGOs, the so-called ‘shift the power’ debate is gaining momentum. Voices from the global south are catalyzing a change in power relations in international cooperation. New concepts are tested in a continuous process, aiming to realize shared ownership.
Cocoa Barometer 2020
The Cocoa Barometer zooms in on the state of sustainability in the global cocoa sector, outlining the current challenges in cocoa (child labour, deforestation, poverty), as well as the necessary changes to tackle their root causes. The Cocoa Barometer is published biennially by a global consortium of civil society organizations, including Solidaridad, and coordinated by the VOICE Network.
NORC report on child labour in West Africa: more accurate figures, but no farmers business case
After three years of research and an investment of 3 million dollars, the long-awaited report of the National Opinion Research Centre (NORC) at the University of Chicago has been published. It has already sparked vigorous debate.
Accelerating Pace in Solidaridad’s W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge Project
Solidaridad’s USAID-funded W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge project makes further progress as COVID-related restrictions ease and allow more field-based activities to get off the ground.
The Gold Solution recognized in Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge
Solidaridad’s Gold Solution was recognized as a finalist in the just ended Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge for its innovative use of digital tools to engage small-scale miners with better practices to reduce environmental degradation and pollution within the sector.
Solidaridad’s USAID-funded W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge Project Gains Momentum
The vast majority of dairy farmers in Bangladesh are women. However they are often excluded from opportunities to increase their knowledge on good practices and to financially benefit from milk sales.