Solidaridad South America delivers innovative solutions to increase production in an efficient and resilient way that fosters inclusive economic development and protects conservation areas.
Increasing demand from Asia has fuelled a growth in export volumes that is partially compensating for the drop in key commodities. China is emerging as a leading trading and investment partner in the region which strengthens the need for international sustainable supply chains initiatives.
Big data and analytics are playing an increasing role in farm and industry management and the corporate sector. Large traders and multinationals continue to take decisive steps towards sourcing sustainable products. This trend reinforces opportunities to integrate smallholders into sustainable supply chains through innovative solutions like digital technologies and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) models.
All of the South American countries in which Solidaridad works have signed the Paris Climate Agreement, with the exception of Ecuador. This provides a favourable framework to work on climate change issues in the region, especially against the risk of a deforestation re-bound in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon.
Solidaridad is committed to addressing major weaknesses in the value chains currently preventing the region and its producers from reaching their full potential in terms of efficiency, competitiveness, inclusiveness and climate mitigation. Addressing these issues will contribute to more sustainable and inclusive production and markets.
Increased efficiency in natural resources management and value chain competitiveness in existing agricultural land is critically important. Solidaridad needs to assist farmers in enhance productivity with better climate resilience to reduce agricultural losses and the agricultural environmental footprint. In order to do that, there needs to be decent work places and livelihoods for landless and vulnerable groups to reduce the outflow of rural workers.
Finally, production in compliance with environmental and labour regulatory frameworks can be stepping stone towards sustainability.
Solidaridad has helped to ensure an increase of soy produced under responsible standards in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. As a result, 2.7 million tonnes of RTRS certified soy reached the markets and leveraged about 5 million US dollars in RTRS premiums.
The Sustainable Trade Platform (STP) worked on common sustainability challenges in Colombia’s palm oil, banana, coffee and flowers.Today, the STP reaches almost 300,000 producers and workers and covers 439,650 hectares. It also has 22 public and private alliances across all sectors. In 2016, the STP added sugarcane as a new commodity for the platform.
Solidaridad has established a proven extension model for climate resilient highlands coffee production. In Colombia, this resulted in tonnes of captured CO2 captured, renewed in agroforestry systems and interventions in cultivated hectares.
In addition, a proven business model for tea small farmers associations benefited almost 2,000 family farmers and workers and resulted in tea certified under UTZ and Rain Forest Alliance standards.
- Cotton, Fruit & Vegetables, Coffee
One of the key challenges affecting the highlands coffee sector in the Pacific region is climate change. Solidaridad's climate-smart agriculture (CSA) model, in a context of sustainable landscape management, aims to have a positive impact on productivity, quality and even in halting the proliferation of diseases.
- Sugarcane, Fruit & Vegetables, Palm oil
Private organizations understand that having sustainability credentials will enable them to remain in the market and, due to this acknowledgement, they have become the perfect channel to influence producers who now apply good agricultural practices.
Small Artisanal Miners
Solidaridad's work in Peru has demonstrated that it is feasible for small-scale mining to be certified and to produce responsibly, giving small miners access to a sustainable jewel trade.
- Tea, Cocoa
Inclusive and more diverse
In order for small producers to remain competitive, finding profitable leads for income diversification is key. This can be achieved through the vertical integration of suppliers in bigger agribusinesses or through producer associations.
- Livestock, Soy
Land use and regeneration
Considering that soy and livestock are the main deforestation drivers in the region, intensification models and land use planning have been one of Solidaridad's main lines of intervention to build risk-free supply chains in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes, Argentinian Chaco and Paraguayan Atlantic Forest agricultural frontiers.
Solidaridad South America is adapting its strategy to effectively serve farmers and companies with climate-smart solutions. We’re working towards more resilient production with fewer emissions and better use of land and water while avoiding deforestation. We work in the challenging and diverse landscapes of the Amazon, the savannas of the Brazilian Cerrado, the Colombian Orinoquia, and in the dry forests of Chaco. Innovations in digital and financial tools are key for up-scaling climate-smart solutions. The climate-smart cocoa beans from one of the producers in our cocoa programme were used to make the first chocolate from Tuêre at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.
At Solidaridad South America, the model for continual improvement to scale sustainable production has grown beyond its piloting phase. The private sector is now responding by replicating and scaling this model up. Solidaridad is making advancements in establishing more overarching interventions to integrate these in farm solutions with landscape approaches. In addition, Solidaridad is fostering an enabling policy environment to improve native forest conservation and smallholder resilience to climate change.
The Sustainable Trade Platform in Colombia concluded its first phase, proving that commercial competitors can successfully collaborate on common sustainability challenges. An external evaluation assessed this multi-stakeholder platform as neutral, safe and relevant. The platform helped to articulate standards, develop climate change adaptation solutions and support producers in making important value chains more inclusive and sustainable.
The Natural Beef Standards was launched in Paraguay with active support from Solidaridad for the ARP, the main producer association in the country. Cattle ranchers who raise cattle with natural grasses, free of hormones and antibiotics as well as within protected forest corridors, have now organized codes of conduct and guides adapted to the local situation and regulations in Paraguay. Producers used Solidaridad’s continual improvement tool to self-assess their practices and plan improvements.
By engaging with leading companies in the region, Solidaridad and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) increased the supply of soy produced in 2014 under several systems of sustainable management by 1.6 million metric tons, covering a total of 845,262 hectares. This confirms that a change of mindset in producers can drive bottom-up market transformation.
Burning in the Amazon has to stop
A sharp increase in the number of forest fires has been recorded in the Brazilian Amazon this year. The fires, linked to the burning of land to clear it for crops after deforestation, threaten biodiversity, soil fertility and human health.
Advocating for more leadership positions occupied by women in their communities
Many roles in family businesses are still assigned on the basis of gender in South America: it is believed that women are not strong enough to work the land, or are ill-suited for finance, negotiation or decision making. Instead, they are supposed to take care of the family, while the men are active in business.
Solidaridad shares expertise at Sustainable Beef Vision Summit in São Paulo
Recognizing the urgency of implementing practices that make the livestock market more sustainable, back in 2012 Solidaridad co-founded the Global Roundtable of Sustainable Beef (GRSB).
Solidaridad wins the Energy Globe award for sustainable agriculture in Paraguay
Solidaridad received the national Energy Globe Award for its UniSol project in which it contributed to sustainability in agriculture among 2,658 producers in Paraguay. The Energy Globe Award is one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards.
Zero-deforestation agreement marks milestone for Colombia’s beef and dairy sectors
The Minister of Environment of Colombia, Solidaridad, and a coalition of private sector and civil society partners, recently signed a milestone agreement to reduce deforestation related to the beef and dairy supply chains in Colombia by 2030. An updated priority is to define the working plan for its implementation.
Dynamics of Due Diligence: How to get it "right"?
Competing interests and lack of cooperation between governments and companies can easily harm local communities, despite the best intentions of all parties involved. Solidaridad took the opportunity at the LANDac Conference in the Netherlands to host a roundtable discussion about the challenges companies face when exercising their due diligence in various policy environments.