Today, hundreds of millions of people are employed in value chains, where they play a vital role in a complex network of trade and commerce that extends around the world.

In the era of globalisation, choices made by those with influence over value chains can forever change the lives of the communities involved. But too often, their voices are not adequately represented.

That’s why, we’re proud to announce A Seat At The Table: a symbol of the action IDH and our partners are taking to change the status quo — and give value chain communities a seat at the table, whenever decisions are made.

What is a Seat At The Table? 

A Seat At The Table is a symbol of our commitment, together with our partners, to giving people employed in value chains equal voice in decision-making. 

It’s the first in a series of chairs, each designed to represent different communities and different global commodity value chains. Created in collaboration with Ivorian visual artist Maëlys Ediaho and inspired by the culture of West Africa’s cocoa-producing regions, it uses local materials and techniques to create an enduring image of representation and empowerment. 

Crafted using durable Yundê wood, the chair takes the form of a hand — simultaneously symbolising the many hands that work together to make value chains possible, and representing the “M’nssa”, a traditional Khamsa symbol of protection and good luck.

Why is this needed? 

At IDH, we know collaboration can transform our world. We’ve seen first-hand the positive change that can be created when people from all stages of the value chain work together on solutions to our greatest challenges.

For 15 years, we’ve worked to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, collaborating with our partners to bring people together and create better jobs, better incomes, a better environment, and gender equality for all.

A Seat At The Table is a reminder of the work still to be done. And a symbol of our commitment to ensuring that people employed in value chains have a seat at the table, whenever decisions are made that affect them.

How can you, our partner, get involved? 

This is just the first chair of many. From here, we’ll work with additional local artists and designers to create more — each designed to represent a different value chain community and culture.

These chairs can be placed in any setting where impactful decisions are made — from events and panels to boardrooms and summits. As hopefully the first of many such chairs representing stakeholders in key sectors, we invite our partners to take inspiration and remember the voice of those who work in the value chain when making decisions.

To help make this happen, we’re asking our partners to get involved and co-fund a chair of their choice. A symbol of their own commitment and the action they’re taking to give value chain communities a seat at the table, whenever decisions are made.

Interested partners also have the option to receive a film documenting the process of creating the chair, as well as photography and all associated press materials, for use in their own marketing and communications as well as our campaign.


Gillian Evans, Senior Brand Manager at IDH