Within IDH, Food Crops and Ingredients focuses on products sold by retailers and brands in the sectors of Aquaculture, Flowers & Plants, Fruit & Vegetables, Juice, Nuts, Spices, and Vanilla; all of which have Sustainability Initiatives.

Food Crops & Ingredients sectors

Nowadays, more than 50% of all fish we eat is farmed. Aquaculture can produce healthy, high quality food with limited environmental impact, creating jobs and prosperity, if done sustainably. Learn more about IDH’s approach and about the Seafood MAP which aims to support non-certified producers, small-scale fishing and farming communities to become more sustainable; and help markets to supply more sustainable seafood.

Sustainability Initiative: Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative

Focus Areas: Living WageLiving IncomeEnvironment


In the last few decades, the fast expansion of the floriculture sector has led to significant economic growth and prosperity in production countries. At the same time, the sector is confronted by a number of sustainability challenges, on which IDH and the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative are working together to drive change and improve practices.

Sustainability Initiative: Floriculture Sustainability Initiative

Focus Areas: Living WageEnvironment


Demand for fruit and vegetables continues to increase globally, due to healthier lifestyles in the west and a growing middle class in developing countries. In order to meet demand and consumer expectations, the sector needs to adopt more sustainable production methods. To accelerate this, in 2012, IDH, together with 13 Dutch retailers and traders, launched the Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables, that has since then grown into a pan-European initiative with over 40 partners in six different countries

Sustainability Initiative: Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV)

Focus Areas: Living WageEnvironment


Across juice supply chains, social and environmental challenges are increasingly coming into focus. Juice supply chains can be complex and dynamic, with inputs that are largely commoditized – this can be a challenging setting in which to make progress. To improve the sustainability of global juice supply chains, IDH collaborates with companies to build demand for more sustainable production.

Sustainability Initiative: Sustainable Juice Covenant

Focus Areas: Living WageLiving Income


IDH focuses on the improvement of livelihood of the smallholder farmers in Africa, where cashew is one of the main cash crops for about 2 million small-scale farmers, who typically have extremely low yields of around 50% of the world average. IDH and its partners support the creation of strong market links between farmer aggregates, processing factories in Africa and end-buyers in western countries, initiating a transition to direct sourcing from smallholders.

Sustainability Initiative: Sustainable Nut Initiative

Focus Areas: Living Income


The spice market is under increasing pressure: While demand for spices is on the rise, the sector is challenged by issues that affect supply, in the short as well as in the long term. There is a growing need to control and trace the origin of the spices, and assure availability of safe and high quality products that come from sustainable sources.

Sustainability Initiative: Sustainable Spices Initiative

Focus Areas: Living WageLiving IncomeEnvironment


There is a clear need to tackle sustainability and quality issues in vanilla production and processing and improve sector transparency. IDH strives to increase the supply of traceable, sustainably produced and high quality vanilla, improve the livelihoods and income of the farmers and contribute to better sector governance and transparency. The focus is currently on Madagascar, but the general approach is a global one.

Sustainability Initiative: Sustainable Vanilla Initiative

Focus Areas: Living WageLiving Income

Because many of these fresh foods and ingredients are sourced from producers, retailers have a responsibility for their ethical provenance and supply chains. IDH convenes diverse stakeholders and uses its expertise to help prioritize the most pressing sustainability issues in each sector.

Focus Areas

As the Sustainability Initiatives in Food Crops and Ingredients often face similar challenges, companies benefit by sharing their experience and solutions across sectors. Together, they contribute to improving the focus areas of Living Wage, Living Income, Environment and Value Chain Development.

  • Living Wage and Working Conditions
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  • Living Income and Increased Income
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  • Environment
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  • Value Chain Development

F&I Living Wage focus is directed at ensuring a decent standard of living for permanent and temporary workers as well as equal wages for male and female workers. This is combined with improving working conditions and solving issues like gender inequality or child labour, while fostering the overall creation of more decent jobs.

Food Crops and Ingredients Sustainability Initiatives follow IDH’s Roadmap on Living Wages, an initiative steered by a dozen leading companies with advice from key sustainability organizations, to provide tools and approaches for companies to work on living wages in a uniformed way. IDH also initiated the first national sector-specific covenant with targets on Living Wages, the Dutch Banana Retail Commitment

For more information and examples with regards to F&I and Living Wage, click here.


Living Income: For Food Crops and Ingredients sectors predominantly grown by smallholders, the Sustainability Initiatives contribute to better, stable and equitable incomes of male and female farmers, in a long-term vision towards a living income – an income that at least covers the cost of a decent standard of living.

The focus is on sustainable sourcing: Within specific service delivery programs, IDH partners with industry actors, local agri-entrepreneurs and producer organizations to ensure that products are produced responsibly and meet sustainability standards. This includes training and services for farmers that help to enhance farm productivity, foster sustainable agriculture practices, and increase access services as data and finance, while promoting inclusion and equality.

For more information and examples with regards to F&I and Living Income, click here.


Environment: Food Crops and Ingredients products are primarily grown by agriculture, aquaculture and floriculture, which include practices that can have a negative impact on the environment, for example in the areas of water use, chemical use, greenhouse gas emissions, and loss of biodiversity.

Many organizations are seeking to reduce their environmental impact. By joining Sustainability Initiatives, companies can scale up their impact ambitions to cover their total supply chain and embrace targets towards 2030 in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information and examples with regards to the focus area Environment, click here.


Value Chain Development is a market-led approach for creating sustainable, inclusive & economically viable supply chains. It supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and smallholder farmers – particularly in Africa – to meet the quality, volume and compliance requirements of global brands, retailers and traders, thereby improving employment, income and livelihoods, especially for women and youth.

This is achieved through partnerships with buyers to provide technical, commercial and financial support for SMEs and smallholder farmers. Investing in their business operations enables them to supply FMCG companies and to access premium markets in Africa, Europe and elsewhere.

For more information on Value Chain Development, click here.

What do Food Crops and Ingredients Sustainability Initiatives offer?

  • Sector expertise on developing sustainable trade
  • Convene and align industry on common goals for impact
  • Help companies contributing to UN SDGs
  • Support due diligence requirements for supply chains
  • Provide assurance to meet government, EU and retailers’ requirements
  • Direct the development of standards for sustainability

Sustainability Initiatives at a glance


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