Business and development cooperation - creating sustainable supply chains together

Interview with Andrea Donath on sustainable supply chains

Why does development cooperation work with companies? And how does this collaboration promote sustainable agricultural supply chains? project manager Andrea Donath explains in the podcast "From field to shelf" by the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) how the platform helps companies and development cooperation to establish sustainable agricultural supply chains. This is a small excerpt from the interview. The whole episode can be found here. Learn more about sustainable supply chains at

INA: Can development cooperation only work in conjunction with businesses?

Andrea Donath: "Certainly not exclusively. Of course, there are areas where it is important to critically assess the value of cooperation and draw fine lines. On the other hand, I believe that we could make better use of synergies where we can mutually benefit from each other. In other words, there is this sweet spot where business and development cooperation can work together much better and more successfully than if one of them did it alone. project manager Andrea Donath

INA: Why does cooperating with businesses sometimes not work out?

Andrea Donath: "There are of course areas that are very sensitive to the integration of business activities. The goal of companies is to make profits. That is not the goal of development cooperation. With development cooperation, we want to achieve effects in particular and improve the lives of people in developing and emerging countries and develop the ecosystems. […]

There are very sensitive and vulnerable areas where you have to be very careful. But there are at least as many, if not many more areas where I would clearly say: companies are faster, companies are more innovative, companies are in the market and often almost closer to people and simply know where the future is heading. Also in the development of their innovative products, they always focus on people and their needs.

As a development cooperation, we sometimes find it difficult to find and integrate the best and most innovative solutions quickly and in time. And this is what we want to improve on with our platform".

INA: What is and where did the idea come from? What is it all about?

" is a digital matchmaking platform that shows companies business opportunities in the context of international development cooperation. The goal of is to understand in the context of worldwide development cooperation: What challenges are we facing? At what point do we need the innovative solutions of companies? In concrete terms, this can mean that our agricultural programs in India support farmers or entrepreneurs in finding alternative packaging materials for their field work. And then we look for companies that offer appropriate solutions.

On the other hand, we are often looking for buyers for sustainably produced fruit or products on the German or international market , who do not even know that we are in touch with the producers. This can be sustainably produced coffee or honey, or even gemstones from Namibia. We want to make this searching and finding easier and have developed the platform for this purpose. This way we can clearly point out: What do we have to offer? Where are we looking for innovative solutions? Who can supply us with these solutions?"


Listen to the full podcast here (in German).

The podcast "From field to shelf" by the "Initiative for Sustainable Supply Chains" highlights various aspects of development cooperation and provides practical insights into projects around the world. Like the platform, the podcast is operated on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Hero Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash, 2020

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