The Innovation Labs

We will bring together 400+ CEOs, Ministers, Financiers, NGOs, and Experts to co-design the Future of Sustainable Trade. You'll join key work streams that are at the heart of sustainable trade. Experts will share latest insights, and you're invited to contribute to co-designing new business-driven solutions for impact on SDGs. Join us to innovate, learn and deepen our understanding of how to leverage business interest for the SDGs. You will be presented with business cases across value chains and geographies:

  1. Making living income the outcome
  2. Investing in smallholder profitability
  3. A new sustainable market mechanism: Verified sourcing areas
  4. Prosperity and jobs: value chain development – Africa
  5. Working towards a joint agenda for living wages
  6. Catalyzing Change: India – Secure Responsible Sourcing
  7. Digital innovations to improve farm performance and value chains
  8. IDH4Gender: where does the evidence take us?
  9. New frontiers in sustainable manufacturing 
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Making living income the outcome

To achieve a truly sustainable supply chain, farmers need to overcome the intractable challenge of poverty. The effects of poverty on supply chains are well known: low productivity, poor quality production, poor traceability and the existence of child labor, to name a few. The youth’s disinterest in farming can largely be attributed to poverty, as the youth migrate to urban enclaves for better economic opportunity. When farming is abandoned by the youth and lacking professionalism among elders, countries and regions risk unrest. Even sustainability investments across commodities may be in vain if we don’t take seriously the threat poverty imposes on farmer’s lives. The stakes are high, and the issue is complex, and yet we know everyone gains when farmers can rise out of poverty and not only sustain themselves, but thrive.

The concept of living income pushes us to think beyond poverty – beyond farmers simply surviving – to what it means for farming households to achieve decent standards of living. Making living income the goal-post commits us to systems-level change by targeting root causes, together, rather than treating its symptoms in isolation.  If farmers earned a living income, then they could invest in their farm business and improve the yield and quality of their production. If farmers could afford their child’s school fees and have the cash or savings to pay when those fees are due, then they could stop the practice of side-selling or farm mortgaging, and stop engaging in child labor.

There are no simple solutions.  No one can do this alone. Every stakeholder has a role to play, with gains to be made across the board in the effort towards achieving living income in smallholder farming households. Join us in exploring the latest initiatives, key strategies, and ongoing obstacles in the field and at the systems-level in the effort to make living income the outcome for smallholder farmers.

Speakers joining this session :

  • Carla Romeu Dalmau

    Senior Innovation Manager, Better Jobs at IDH

    Carla Romeu-Dalmau works towards achieving structural change to reduce poverty in supply chains. She holds a PhD on Agricultural Ecology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and a MSc in Sustainability Studies and Ecological Economics from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA). She has published twelve publications on agriculture, sustainability, ecosystem services and poverty.

  • Lucas Simons

    Founder of NewForesight and SCOPEinsight


  • Kim Frankovich

    Vice President of Cocoa Sustainability for Mars Wrigley Confectionery

  • Dr. Stefan Schmitz

    Deputy Director-General for Food, Rural Development and Natural Resources at BMZ.

Investing in smallholder profitability

Worldwide over 200 million smallholders live in poverty. To improve their livelihoods they need to boost their profitability through investments in training, inputs and assets. On November 15 IDH launches an advisory and intelligence center, analyzing, co-designing, innovating and improving service delivery systems of (agro)inputs to smallholders. Simultaneously a de-risking fund will be launched, that will catalyze large scale investments into smallholder farming, in Africa and other developing markets. We believe cost-effective delivery of inputs and training, coupled with affordable financing, can boost profitability and lift smallholder farmers out of poverty on a large scale. In the session, we will focus on what different players can do to establish, grow and finance inclusive and sustainable farmer business models.



Speakers joining this session :

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  • Vanessa Adams

    Vice-President, Country Support and Delivery, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

  • Andrew Halle

    Chief Executive Officer of Ecom

  • Thomas Kehoe

    Deputy Director Agriculture at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Aviva Kutnick

    Private Sector Engagement, Foreign Service Officer at USAID

  • Mary Munyiri

    Chief Executive Officer of ECLOF Kenya

  • Dr. James Mwangi

    Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Equity Group Holdings Limited

  • Patrick Njoroge

    Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya

  • Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien

    Group Chief, Sustainability & Governance at Dangote Industries Limited

A new sustainable market mechanism: verified sourcing areas

IDH and partners present Verified Sourcing Areas (VSAs): a new market mechanism that rewards regions where public and private stakeholders work together to address environmental, social and economic sustainability in one approach. VSAs provide an answer to pressing issues like deforestation, smallholder livelihoods, water- and pesticides use. VSAs go beyond farm-by-farm certification and single product solutions, to stimulate regions working towards inclusive green growth.  Thereby, we are connecting responsible commodity production to international demand, and turning global company commitments into green, inclusive growth. IDH has convened a VSA Steering Committee which is now overseeing the development of the VSA model and VSA readiness pilots in Brazil and Indonesia.

Learn more about the new VSA approach and hear mayors, governors, traders, big brands and retailers explaining their interest. Join us to help think through how to mainstream VSAs – beyond a frontrunner agenda – by making it replicable and scalable in more geographies.


Speakers joining this session :

  • Daan Wensing

    Chief Executive Officer

  • Christine Daugherty

    Vice President Global Sustainable Agriculture, PepsiCo

  • Patrick Mallet

    Director of Innovations, ISEAL

  • Fernando Sampaio

    Executive Director PCI Strategy, Brazil

Prosperity and Jobs: value chain development – Africa

Formalizing South-South Trade and link African SME’S to High Value Markets.
How to professionalize African SM business operation: increasing productivity, improving quality, extending production and supply seasons, enhancing supply chain efficiency and ensuring compliance to market requirements. How to orchestrate simultaneous access to affordable finance, support entrepreneurship in the agri-business sector and ICT, and support African SMEs and farmers to access the global market by facilitating business links to i.e. European companies with increased appetize to do business in Africa.

Join donor agencies, companies and governments in driving development that is economically viable and thus financially sustainable, while maintaining a central focus on positive social and environmental impact.

Agricultural entrepreneurship and local industries in Africa.
In 2020 over 2,5 billion people will live in Africa of which 70% will be under 30. Many of them earn an income in the informal economy. Inter-African trade is on the rise but still lower comprised to other continents. IDH and Dahlberg join forces to help feed and employ a new generation of young Africans. Next to challenges, it will create colossal business opportunities. Generating millions of jobs; boosting agricultural entrepreneurship and building local industries. Create added value in-country, bring prosperity to farmers/workers and serve the growing needs of regional markets in Africa. IDH and Dahlberg aim to build market-led public private partnership programs to boost agricultural entrepreneurship and processing industry.

Speakers joining this session :

  • Kebba Colley

    Global Director Value Chains Transformation

  • Nneka Eze

    Nneka is a General Partner and Managing Director at VestedWorld, an impact-focused early-stage fund, where she has served on the Investment Committee for four years. She also serves on the board of the Impact Investors Foundation of Nigeria and Nigeria's National Advisory Board for Impact Investing.

  • George William Kayonga

    Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB)

  • Dorcas Onyango

    Head of Sustainability, Southern & East Africa Business Unit

    Coca-Cola Africa PTY

  • Momarr Taal

    Founder of Tropingo Foods

  • Affiong Williams

    Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Reelfruit

Working towards a joint agenda for living wages

For workers in many developing economies, working for export sectors is a potential exit from poverty, and a material contribution to the country’s economic development. Although progress has been made, it is still common for workers to receive only minimum wages and it proves a challenge to increasing their standard of living. By receiving a living wage, workers can ‘work their way out of poverty’ and provide their families a decent standard of living.

From the business perspective, by paying a living wage a healthy economic cycle is established, allowing people to purchase goods and services. This is a fundamental aspect for a dynamic and resilient community, which in turn plays an important part for businesses’ sustainability, continuity and stability. Also, living wages may increase social mobility, which gives people greater opportunities to start up their own businesses, contributing to their communities.

IDH’s approach is focused on the facilitation of implementing living wages. We do this with industry partners and in partnership with the Global Living Wage Coalition, through a range of approaches that could be possibly replicated and scaled. For example, IDH, in a collaborative effort with stakeholders from across the entire tea value chain (including the major global tea buying companies and tea producing companies), developed a living wages strategy in Malawi that combines growth with improving worker conditions. Approaches are also implemented in the banana sector in Costa Rica, Belize, Ghana and Ecuador; as well as in the flower sector in East Africa.

Join us in discussions on how to move living wage implementation to a larger scale.

International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Dutch government are announcing a new project on wages in producing countries.  Furthermore, the session will bring together a range of our key bananas, tea and flowers partners, from all parts of the supply chain, including retail, trade and production. We will hear from company representatives how they have experienced working on living wage implementation. We will then break up in smaller ‘co-creation’ groups with the aim to find common successes and challenges. We would like to gather ideas to overcome these challenges in order to accelerate living wage implementation.

Speakers joining this session :

  • Jordy van Honk

    Global Director Living Wage and Living Income

  • Patrick Belser

    Senior Economist


  • Michel van den Bogaard

    Chief Financial Officer


  • Julie Cournoyer

    Global Director Sustainability


  • Jos Huber

    Senior policy advisor at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

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  • Will Battle

    Senior sustainable procurement advisor, and former tea buyer


  • Tony Bruggink

    Global Director IDH Food Crops & Ingredients

Catalyzing Change: India – Secure Responsible Sourcing

The global business scenario is fast changing. Growing awareness about sustainability risks and opportunities is making accountability and transparency increasingly important to the consumers, investors, and other stakeholders. In addition, push from NGOs and growing regulatory requirements, is ensuring that companies put environmental and social issues at the heart of their business strategy. Most of the potential areas of creating a sustainable impact in a business lie within its supply chain and people at the sharp-end of delivering change must deal with real complexity – often being constrained for time, budget and influence.

As India continues to increase its footprint as a key sourcing area across sectors, we explore opportunities for a new potential based on sustainable and inclusive growth. You are invited to join this exciting journey and create a vision to move ahead together as an industry.


  • Provide learning from experts and farmers on how embracing sustainable practices retains consumers’ trust and creates new opportunities for positive social impact.
  • Deepen insight on key enabling factors that allow for responsible sourcing practices for domestic and international actors in emerging economies like India.
  • Exploring opportunities for a new potential based on sustainable and inclusive growth.

Desired Outcomes:

  • A shared vision for how to collectively secure responsible sourcing as an industry.
  • Develop tangible ideas and practical steps for how to convince suppliers, manufacturers and brands to embrace responsible sourcing in their businesses.
  • Participants will Learn, Explore & Discuss on how to “Align Sustainability and Procurement” by getting beneath the surface of the significant challenges facing businesses.

Speakers joining this session :

  • Santhosh Jayaram

    Partner and Head of Sustainability and CSR Advisory at KPMG


  • Ajay Vir Jakhar

    Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmer’s Forum) and Punjab State Farmers Commission, India

  • Michael Kobori

    Vice President of Social and Environmental Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co

  • Sanjiv Rangrass

    Divisional Chief Executive of Agri Business Division at ITC Limited

  • Satya Tripathi

    Assistant Secretary-General & Head of New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Digital innovations to improve farm performance and value chains.

New technology opens up new opportunities. Block chain technology can link farmer data directly to consumers. Full traceability from source to shelf. Without a paper trail. Accessible for everybody. Also for retailers and other buyers to make informed decisions on where to buy their most sustainable products.

Real live data will make M&E so much easier, and cheaper! Will enable informed sourcing decisions. Will allow for easy benchmarking. Will replace certification. Will allow us to know exactly where products where produced, under which circumstances, with which inputs, and against which human and environmental costs. That’s great! Ok. So, let’s pause here. Isn’t there a lot of competitive information in there? And who owns that data? Who will pay for it? What facts do you want to share with your customers and which rather not? We are piloting new data technologies in our programs. Join us in exploring the pro’s and cons, learn more the opportunities and limitations and co-design the future of new technology for sustainable trade.

  • David Rosenberg


  • Paul Moseley

    Program Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


  • Grégoire Danel-Fédou

    Chairman of the Board of Advans CI, and Chief Operating Officer of Advans Group.

  • Catalina Eikenberg

    Head of Sustainable Business at Neumann Kaffee Gruppe

  • Laura Falk

    Group Sustainable Sourcing Manager


  • Tanja Gonggrijp

    Management Team Member, Department for Sustainable Economic Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

  • Laura Mackenzie

    Senior Vice President Global Prepaid & Financial Inclusion at Mastercard

IDH4Gender: where does the evidence take us?

Women and men play a vital role in production and sales of cash and food crops, and as workers, traders and processors in value chains. Yet often women have fewer (economic) opportunities and are more vulnerable to exploitation. Experience shows that more gender equality in decision-making, and participation of both men and women in farm activities are key drivers for sustainable growth. Applying a gender lens will multiply impact through more cost- efficient interventions, higher adoption rates of trainings, improved workers satisfaction and better family incomes.

IDH convenes experts, knowledge and experiences, and carefully designs gender strategies in various programs. We will dive into the evidence, and learn what works and how to further multiply our impact. Join us in exploring innovative business solutions on topics such as workplace safety and sexual harassment, leadership & empowerment of farmers and workers, increasing supply and organizing access to services and finance.

Speakers joining this session :

  • Judith Fraats

    Senior Program Manager Tea, IDH

  • Olga Gormalova

    General Manager - Sustainable Management Services (Ghana and Nigeria) at ECOM

  • Winfridah Moraa Nyakwara

    Integrated Social Sustainability Manager, Africa for Unilever

  • Tamsin Scurfield

    Business Development and Partnerships Manager, Opportunity International

  • Vicki Wilde

    Senior Program Officer, Agricultural Development and Women's Economic Empowerment, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Tewodros Zewdie

    Executive Director and Program Manager of Ethio-Dutch Program for Horticulture Development of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA)

New frontiers in sustainable manufacturing

At IDH, fashion brands and retailers join forces to abolish dangerous or otherwise unacceptable working conditions in the fashion manufacturing industry, especially related to structural, electrical, and fire safety. IDH and the brands chose to build programs that addresses root causes, with build-in economic incentives for manufacturing industries to improve their practices. Together with brands, retailers, agents and factories we aim to reverse the Race to the Bottom of the fashion manufacturing industry, into a Race to the Top. Can’t be done? We will show you examples of what has been achieved already. How investments with short pay back times have made a huge difference. But let’s not stop there. Let’s get into the next set of challenges to unlock the full potential of sustainable manufacturing. Join us in exploring best practices in Worker Management Dialogues, Mill improvement Programs, the Race to the Top, the Pakistan Buyers Forum, and help us design from that even smarter interventions and address the underlying issues that can help us get to scale, by exploring improvement in responsible sourcing practices and developing blueprints for eco-industrial parks useable for replicating growth in newly industrializing regions without duplicating the waste.


Speakers joining this session :

  • Ted van der Put

    Executive Advisor

    IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative

  • Sibbe Krol

    Senior Program Manager, Apparel


  • Jeffrey Hogue

    Global Chief Sustainability Officer of C&A

  • Jason Kibbey

    Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition

  • Lewis Perkins

    President of the Apparel Impact Institute

Main sponsors

Sponsors of specific part of the event


Jacobs Douwe Egberts     Refresco     Marfrig