IOB – Riding the wave of sustainable commodity sourcing – Review of the Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH 2008-2013

The Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH (Initiatief Duurzame Handel) was set up in 2008 on the initiative of the Dutch government, private companies, NGOs and trade unions. The aim was to improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of production systems in developing countries. The focus would be on internationally traded commodities like cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa, timber and fish. Public-private coalitions were to develop sector improvement plans, initially built around voluntary sustainability standards such as UTZ Certified and Better Cotton.

This review looks at where IDH stands after six years of support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Did the joint programmes agreed with private companies achieve the intended results? What was the private sector contribution in the projects? How did the IDH organisation evolve and what are the prospects for its work on sustainable commodity sourcing?