Building Business Models for Impact on Global Goals

In 2016, IDH executed the first year of its 2020 strategic plan. We invest in Sustainable Development Goals by driving innovative business models for sustainable trade in 11 global supply chains and 11 landscapes. We are on track in our effort to transform markets through changing business practices, improving sector governance and improving field level sustainability. Key results in 2016 include:

  • 50 million euro of private sector investments, leveraging public funding to IDH for sustainable development with a 1:2 ratio
  • 8,4 out of 10 score for the representation and commitment of key stakeholders in multi-stakeholder coalitions we convene both at global and landscape level
  • 1,8 million farmers and workers were trained in sustainable production practices
  • 4,9 million hectares have been brought under sustainable land use
  • our efforts contributed to 10 million MT of sustainably produced production

IDH’s innovations strive to create cost efficiency, to allow for scale. We built a pipeline with promising blended finance projects in different sectors and jurisdictional areas that will potentially increase return on investment considerably compared to traditional grant financing.

In 2016 we struck a ground-breaking smallholder finance deal in Côte d’Ivoire with a leading chocolate man­ufacturer, IFC and local financial institutions. If successful, up to 100,000 cocoa farmers will have access to finance for obtaining productivity packages that can improve their income, intensify land use and improve nutrition. Our proof of concept is to show that this innovation works and will be incorporated in the business practices of the industry and the financial sector.

In Liberia, Indonesia and Brazil we have developed inclusive public-private green growth plans in jurisdictions with deforestation policies. In the coming years we will make these landscapes eligible for investments through a de-risking fund, that is being incorporated by IDH as announced in early 2017 at WEF Davos by IDH, Unilever and the Norwegian prime minister.

We are extremely grateful to our Dutch, Swiss, Danish and Norwegian donors and to our program partners for their ongoing trust and support. Delivering real, on-the-ground impact at scale can only be done if we join forces. We look forward to continue driving sustainability from niche to norm together!

Joost Oorthuizen
Steven Collet
IDH Executive Board

Sustainable Development Goals

  • SDG 1 No Poverty
  • SDG 2 Zero Hunger
  • SDG 5 Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 Responsible Production and Consumption
  • SDG 15 Life on Land
  • SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals

Impact Themes

Next to economic viability and scalability of interventions, the mission of IDH is to explore new ways of stretching business investments to deliver more and deeper impact on public good. IDH believes that significant, large scale and systemic impact on poverty reduction, deforestation, gender and agrochemical use is not possible without the full support and alignment of businesses, governments and civil society alike, and their joint drive to prototype new intervention models and finance systems that have deeper sustainable impact than in those interventions already out there. In our mission to deliver public good through innovative business models IDH focuses on five overarching impact themes:

  • Smallholder Inclusion
  • Mitigation of Deforestation
  • Living Wage and Improved Working Conditions
  • Responsible Agrochemical Management
  • Gender Equality and Empowerment

Smallholder Inclusion

In tea, we concluded our successful Farmer Field School program with the KTDA in Kenya; training 165.000 farmers leading to yield increases of over 40%. The KTDA is now able to train all 465.000 tea farmers by itself, allowing IDH to exit. We are “exporting” the FFS methodology now to Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. In coffee, cocoa and cashew, we are partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to research the business models of their partners in Africa, and build a Service Delivery Innovation Lab. In our fresh and ingredients program, we launched a Vanilla Initiative to improve the livelihoods of tens of thousands of small-scale vanilla farmers in Madagascar. More on smallholder inclusion on the sector pages: aquaculture, tea, coffee, fresh & Ingredients, cotton and cocoa.

Mitigation of Deforestation

We are extending our partnership with the Norwegian government (NICFI) for an ambitious multi-year land­scape program in Indonesia, Liberia and Brazil. In our landscape and soy program in Brazil, we are supporting the implementation of the state-driven Pro­duction Protection Inclusion (PPI) partnership in Mato Grosso to work towards zero net deforestation in a coalition of soy and beef producers, local government and civil society. And we were able to align Brazilian soy producers and the European feed and vegetable oil industry around a common road map toward 100% responsible soy production and EU import. In our palm oil/landscape programs, we signed an am­bitious Green Growth Plan with the governor of South Sumatra at the end of 2015. In 2016, a similar agree­ment with the governor of West-Kalimantan followed, to secure political support for our palm oil/zero net deforestation programs. The authorities now recognize 10,000 hectares of HCVA that are set aside in a palm oil concession of 40.000 hectares. At the market end we convened European palm oil industries to develop a roadmap towards q00% sustainable palm oil import, that is supported by a wide range of European governments through “the Amsterdam declaration”. More on impact on deforestation is found on the sector pages of cocoa, tea and all the palm and soy landscapes.

Living Wages and Working Conditions

In tea, we built the first ever collective bargaining agreement in the tea sector in Malawi, resulting in a 20% wage increase and meal fortification (adding to the living wage) for 50.000 tea workers in an unprecedented public-private coalition that aims to revitalize the Malawian tea sector by 2020. See for more information about our living wages impact visit the sectors: tea, fresh & ingredients and apparel (Race to the Top).

Responsible Agrochemical Management

In Vietnam, we strengthened the governance of agro­chemical management by establishing and co-chairing a national agrochemical taskforce. We were empow­ered by the provincial authorities to assess the current management system and support its improvement through our field-level projects. In India, we launched the Sustainable Grape Initiative. We continued addressing agrochemical use in spices through the Sustainable Spices Initiative India, in cotton as it is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops, and in Ethiopia in cut flowers. In aquaculture, we steered the program towards ad­dressing disease control (by far the largest challenge in the sector), which leads to the use of products that are often harmful to the health, economy and environment of producers. For more information on our agrochemical impact visit: fresh & ingredients, tea, landscape Vietnam, Central Highlands and Ethiopia, Central Rift Valley.

Gender Equality and Empowerment

Conceptualization of gender is a key impact theme for IDH in 2016-2020. In tea, we have launched a platform in the Kenyan tea sector to address gender issues and gender based violence. In coffee in Sumatra, we are rolling out a farmer train­ing extension service using a “Gender Action Learning for Sustainability at Scale” methodology. Find more information on our gender impact at: tea, palm oil, cocoa.