Now is the time to rebuild and strengthen sustainable trade

Impact is the ongoing mantra for IDH, and 2019 was no exception. We’ve continued to leverage the power of the private sector making progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and provide sustainable solutions that businesses and governments can scale up. We are proud to share in our Annual Report of 2019 the achievements we realized together with our partners and look forward to continuing our work together, despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Read our Annual Report

In 2019 we saw for the first time ever, the carbon markets being short. There is more demand for carbon credit projects and sustainable land management solutions than there is supply. This provides good momentum for our Verified Sourcing Areas. We partner with local governments and companies to develop areas where governmental laws and regulations work with businesses and local communities to address pressing sustainability issues.  And we help to position those areas within international markets. If they do well, they stand out to companies and investors, offering responsible supply. Their region can become a sourcing area that companies prefer because it takes care of their deforestation, and water and land issue commitments cost effectively. We are piloting this with Carrefour in Brazil and with Pepsico and Unilever in Indonesia. In the next phase, IDH will launch a global market platform – facilitating links between supply and demand. Read the chapter on IDH’s impact on deforestation.

On the social side, there is a strong drive towards living income and living wage. This requires more disruptive business models and more ambitious targets on living income and living wage. 2019 was a breakthrough year. Of the many examples I like to highlight the coalition of major Dutch retailers we built to work towards living wages in all their bananas supply. And in Malawi we narrowed the living wages gap for 50,000 tea workers. Read more about our living wage programs.

We boosted our living incomes agenda for smallholder with IDH Farmfit that enables companies to assess and design new business models, with higher impact. This is a robust step forward and it allows us to measure change over time that has never been possible in this way before. And thanks to the Dutch Government and a few frontrunning companies we could launch the €100 million Farmfit Fund, that enable us to scale up successful business models in a way that was not available before. Read more about it in the smallholder impact chapter.

What I have described so far are all very positive trends, but with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 it is unclear what the future will look like. Lock-down measures have and will continue to have severe social and economic consequences, especially in Africa and Latin America. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that global supply chains are much more vulnerable than we ever imagined. It has become clear that there is an urgent need for more resilient and shorter value chains. We see positive mitigating business initiatives emerge, and are working with our partners to accelerate these developments. If there ever was a time to rebuild and strengthen sustainable trade on a local, regional and global scale, it is now. COVID-19 has demonstrated that no one can prosper alone.

In 2019 together with our partners…

  • 7.9 million metric tonnes

    Volume of sustainably produced commodity

  • 3.58 million

    Farmers trained

  • 9.5 million hectares

    Where sustainable production practices are applied