How can business harness the SDGs for greater impact in smallholder agricultural value chains?


(Gianluca Nardi) #81

Hi Nicole, this is fantastic! I'd love to know more about the initiative that you are mentioning. CARE has been involved in pre-competitive initiatives in the past, and my specific experience has been around the Cocoa Action Plan of the WCF at international level but also some great coordination forum at national level like in Cote d'Ivoire with the CCC (Conseil du Café et Cacao). These spaces are not aligned yet to the SDGs agenda and pushing it could be a worthwhile effort.

Nicole Carta said:

Great comment Gianluca, fully agree and would also underline the importance of working among sector peers to see how industries as a whole can coordinate to achieve greater results, faster. This is still new for many industries but there are certainly good models and examples of working among traditional competitors in a pre-competitive way to align efforts. A new launch will occur this month for agribusiness value chain actors - upstream -to mirror the consumer goods forum, called the Global Agri-Business alliance, co-launched by Olam and WBCSD.


Gianluca Nardi said:

Thank you Zahid for your question,

Defining a smart set of indicators that feed into the SDGs targets will be a key determinant of successful projects. Ideally, the indicators should also be effectively used internally and externally to monitor the progress, to learn and to make managerial decisions following what was learned.

The indicators should also measure not only the numbers of the impacts but also the systemic changes that it is causing, the changes in the rules of the game, in the public policies and in the corporate behaviours.

Tracking the changes that are happening within the same companies would have a huge value in terms of tracking how companies are addressing issues at a deeper level that involves their business.



Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Thanks for the great discussion. Let's move on to our final question:

Q3: How can business best measure and communicate its contribution to the SDGs in the smallholder supply chain context?


(Samina Jain) #82

Great points, Chloe - a very strong challenge for small-holder farmers and one of the unintended consequences of international aid, that has happened around the world. All the best in your work.

Chloe Azria said:

Hello all,

I work for the Rapino Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in Haiti . Unfortunately, I find that the private sector is unable to uphold the SDGs in a weak/failed state. I think the question should be how can SDGs be leveraged politically to instigate change in international and government policies. When the agricultural sector has no infrastructure/ high risk/ trade barriers these challenges need to be met at the state and international level.

Haiti is a prime example of an agrarian state that went awry due to its weakness in negotiating international trade policies. In 1994 the Clinton administration pressured Haiti to lower its tariffs on rice which slumped market prices with US subsidized rice causing thousands of Haitian rice farmers lose their livelihoods. How can we expect the private sector in agriculture to promote the SDG2 goal when it is powerless in such situations? Why would you invest in this sector when you can wake up this year and find out all your investments in the Haitian peanut sector have gone to waste because the USDA decides to send 500 metic tons of peanuts for free to Haiti?

SDGs need to be leveraged politically in order for us to realize targets 2.a, 2.b and 2.c. But whose job is it to do this?


(Samina Jain) #83

Thank you very much to all the participants and panelists. This was a great discussion and I learned about many tools that I can use in my work.


(Nicole Carta) #84

Hi Gianluca - the two are co-hosting the launch in Singapore on 14 Sept, doesn't appear to be much on line, I have only some initial materials shared with our leadership. I would imagine that WBCSD might have more posted publically, and certainly after the launch later this month. We are watching closely as well as this segment of the food and ag industry is certainly a key player for improving inclusive models with smallholders. Look forward to keeping in touch.


Gianluca Nardi said:

Hi Nicole, this is fantastic! I'd love to know more about the initiative that you are mentioning. CARE has been involved in pre-competitive initiatives in the past, and my specific experience has been around the Cocoa Action Plan of the WCF at international level but also some great coordination forum at national level like in Cote d'Ivoire with the CCC (Conseil du Café et Cacao). These spaces are not aligned yet to the SDGs agenda and pushing it could be a worthwhile effort.

Nicole Carta said:

Great comment Gianluca, fully agree and would also underline the importance of working among sector peers to see how industries as a whole can coordinate to achieve greater results, faster. This is still new for many industries but there are certainly good models and examples of working among traditional competitors in a pre-competitive way to align efforts. A new launch will occur this month for agribusiness value chain actors - upstream -to mirror the consumer goods forum, called the Global Agri-Business alliance, co-launched by Olam and WBCSD.


Gianluca Nardi said:

Thank you Zahid for your question,

Defining a smart set of indicators that feed into the SDGs targets will be a key determinant of successful projects. Ideally, the indicators should also be effectively used internally and externally to monitor the progress, to learn and to make managerial decisions following what was learned.

The indicators should also measure not only the numbers of the impacts but also the systemic changes that it is causing, the changes in the rules of the game, in the public policies and in the corporate behaviours.

Tracking the changes that are happening within the same companies would have a huge value in terms of tracking how companies are addressing issues at a deeper level that involves their business.



Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Thanks for the great discussion. Let's move on to our final question:

Q3: How can business best measure and communicate its contribution to the SDGs in the smallholder supply chain context?


(Phil) #85

It is important that expectations from the private sector in relation to SDGs are not subject to more scrutiny than the responsibilities, commitments and performance of the role of the public sector. As has been mentioned in earlier posts there is a need for collaboration but we always tend to overlook the failure of producer country governments to support public goods and services in rural ag communities despite when there exists a formal monitoring of gaps within for example the District Assembly systems or Departements, Prefecture, Sous Prefecture. There are extensive reports on compliance within communities but these reports are not utilised to challenge why central governments are not funding programmes to reduce those gaps. I have seen the problem first hand under the MDG reporting system.

The bottom line is that communities and their leaders are resigned to continuing to have low expectations from their own governments as to how their communities can be improved. Against this back drop it is important not to try and pass on the burden to the private sector. Taxation in many forms also plays a part in the answer to how we can proceed.


(Raj Jani) #86

Hi Matti, Interesting info. about ACRE. Any plans to upscale the fund to other countries/projects like India and some agriculture related technologies like rain-water harvesting based unique irrigation technology that I am working with. Can share more details if needed!

Matti Kohonen said:

On agricultural value-chains in particular - the 'Leave no-one behind' agenda could lead to looking at SME development strategies, and SME enabling environment, and working with marginalised producers who don't currently have access to financing, or business and enterprise development support, many supply chains don't reach the smallest farmers at the moment.

So we've formed some non traditional partnerships for example in Bolivia between social enterprise incubator agencies, and in a number of countries (Bolivia, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Rwanda) we've launched an impact investment fund together with a consortium of 5 NGOs called Access to Capital for Rural Enterprise (ACRE) which aims to invest in rural enterprises in the bracket of 200k to 1 million USD, and provide business support prior to investment through grant aid.


(Raj Jani) #87

Dear All, I am a development practitioner working for two social enterprises, both focused on Agriculture. In the first one we harvest rainwater and secure it underground in big volumes for small & marginalized farmers to make them water self sufficient. Our unique technology named # Bhungroo has won many international awards and laurels including the prestigious UNFCCC Climate Change Mitigation Award and World Bank's Development marketplace award. Our work is directly in tandem with SGD Goals 1, 2, 5 and 6.

In my second venture we work with farmers to improvise their agri-practices through Digital Solutions made by us addressing their pain-points. Our work here directly corresponds to addressing SDGs 2, 12 and 15. Both of these ventures are for-profit ventures and we have differentiated business models to work with farmers/farmer support organizations on one hand and the donors (Govt./CSR/International Funding Agencies) on the other. As a business we are quite conscious of making our impact known through varied mediums including beneficiary testimonials, national/international publications and word of mouth through partners, fellow development professionals and agencies. Moreover we are now aiming to secure impact investment funds for our expansion and growth purposes and for achieving bigger scale of our impact. Collaborations from like-minded agencies and professionals are most welcome in this regard.


(Julie Peachey) #88

The SDG Compass is a great resource.

For SDG1, a fundamental measurement is the poverty status of households that companies are working with or impact. A quite simple way to measure poverty of smallholder farmer households is the PPI - www.progressoutofpoverty.org. It has been incorporated into a number of measurement frameworks including the Food Lab's and COSA.

Simon Winter said:

In response to Zahid's third question - one of the key things that needs to happen is to develop a more systematized and standardized way of both measuring and communicating progress against the SDGs - the SFL measurement framework is a great step forward on this - but is not comprehensive across all SDGs yet (Emily correct me if I am wrong).

Last year UNGC/Oxfam developed a framework to align use of poverty footprinting to the SDGs at light touch to deep levels depending on business appetite and resource availability etc.. In the process an extensive exercise was done on metrics and measurement. That can be adapted and used in a variety of ways that is broader than developing poverty footprinting exercises alone. It languishes at the moment as I understand it due to a lack of resources.

And then UNGC also has the SDG Compass and there are a number of other attempts at standardized ways of measuring.

The main challenge is how to get away from the urge to splurge on new systems every time a new organization sees this need but to create convergence - I welcome thoughts about that.