The Ministry of Development Cooperation and International Trade organized a one-day conference on aid and trade. The Dutch government chairs the EU in the coming six months and aid and trade is high on the agenda. IDH is at the heart of this agenda.
At the conference, we organized a pan-European industry commitment for 100% sustainable palm oil by 2020. Joost Oorthuizen addressed the conference, was in a plenary panel and public private partnerships were discussed. Mr Martin Bille Herman, State Secretary for Development Policy of Denmark: ‘IDH brings the growth and responsibility agenda together by bringing companies and NGO at the table’.
Innovation, sustainable value chains and smart legislation
Minister Lilliane Ploumen, as host of the conference, opened the day and stated in her opening speech that innovation, sustainable value chains, smart legislation and awareness are key pillars for sustainable global value chains. The plenary session ended with the Palm Oil Commitment and the supporting ‘Amsterdam declaration on sustainable palm oil’, undersigned by the governments of Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK.
Willing, ready and able
In several break out sessions, public private partnerships were discussed and IDH initiatives were famed. In the palm oil session Bayu Krisnamurth, CEO of Indonesia Estate Crop Fund for Palm oil said: ‘We are willing, ready and able to supply sustainable palm oil and welcome very much the Palm Oil Commitment. But there are many sustainable producers that yet get no market recognition. We need to stop slash and burn. To help smallholders to gradually move towards sustainable practices, the governor of South Sumatra and IDH have signed an agreement. That is a great step forward and I invite everybody to join this partnership.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Head of Supply Chains of Unilever: ‘By 2020 all our palm oil will be sustainable and already now all our palm oil in Europe is traceable and sustainable. IDH was instrumental to help incorporate smallholders in our value chains. To create a level playing field it would be helpful if the EU were to put import tariffs on not-sustainable palm oil. That would create great market pull.
Richard Holland, director market transformation Initiative of WWF: ‘Ýes, this commitment is the right direction but let’s do it in two years. We need a new deal of all supply chain partners. Importers, refiners and buyers and government. We need up scaling with an action program for deforestation.
Race to the Top
In the cotton break out sessions the IDH Race tot he Top program was discussed as a great carrier of company, NGO and government cooperation to inverse the race to the bottom of the apparel industry leading to the Raza place drama.
In the break-out session on agro-commodities innovations were discussed. Ruerd Rubben: ‘It is important that organizations like IDH keep innovating and you do that amongst others with your landscape program.’
Not a western game alone anymore
In the afternoon panel, Joost Oorthuizen said amongst others: ‘Sustainability has become commercial and big brands want to work together. But it’s not a western game anymore. For example the big seven families that dominate pulp & paper and palm oil made big commitments on sustainability. And western and non-western traders that were unknown just a few years ago are now, thanks to pressure by NGOs and well-known international brands that push it on them. It is not a reputation risk anymore. It is a viable business model that creates value.
We can organize development cooperation through international value chains. I see too many German, Danisch, English or Dutch initiatives on the ground and value chains offer an international structure to work through. We need the EU to help de-risk the investments of development banks that are very risk averse. And we need programs in the pipeline. Millions of Norwegian deforestation funds and of the Indonesian CPO funds are not spend’.