November 2nd, 2015

On the 8th of October, Lucas Simons provided the keynote at the first Multisectoral Platform meeting of the Colombian ‘Plataforma Comercio Sostenible’ (Sustainable Trade Platform, STP), which was attended by executives and senior level experts from some of the largest companies active in Colombia. The STP currently has 90 partners who are key stakeholders in the field of sustainability in Colombia for coffee, palm oil, flowers and banana. Partners include producer and worker organisations; sector associations; processor, buyers and exporters; international companies/brands; governments and donors; certification schemes; and NGOs.

Since its founding by Solidaridad in 2012, the STP has made large strides in sustainable business. Key actions already delivered by the STP and its partners include defining pre-competitive objectives in each sector leading to “sector agreements” recognised by key stakeholders at national level, converting these objectives into work plans with specific roles and responsibilities for STP members, and delivering industry projects in the field.

Lucas presented his theories on changing the outcome of our current food system by changing the rules that apply to value chain players, through the sustainable market transformation framework. Specifically, he provided insights on sustainability beyond certification, which incorporated both his past and current experience at UTZ and NewForesight, respectively.

Many participants indicated that the market transformation model provided them with new insights. The framework was very relevant to many businesses that were in the room, and participants found it useful to link their own business and sector to the different phases of sustainable market transformation, to also identify barriers and opportunities.

Andrea Olivar, Country Manager Colombia for Solidaridad, noted that “the theory presented was very relevant to the current work done by the STP in Colombia across the four sectors, and provided insights that are valuable for future action by the platform and its members.”

This event was the first engagement with STP and its partners about the platform’s second phase, and will lead to identifying new objectives for the 2016-2020 period.