Frank van der Linde, managing director of Fairfood International, opened an evening with food and drinks with words which can be summarised as “We must transform the food industry now and we have to rely on companies to make the change.”
The event last night was organised for Fairfood International’s partners and toke place on the Lizboa, a party boat in the Amsterdam Habor. After checking on Foursquare it turned out that I was the first of the quests who made it to the party. Already there was a crowd of appr. 25 people in a nice dressed up location. I promised the host at the door that I would be first in, last out.
Great food, nice people and good conversations
There was a great vibe between all the fairtrade & green people who attended the event. I had the pleasure to meet some folks from my network, but I also met some interesting new folks.
Topics we spoke about included how to address consumers, the way we implement social media into our organisations. Challenges and solutions on how to tackle those challenges that lay ahead of the fairtrade & sustainability movement. Especially when it comes to engaging & communicating to all the stakeholders that our organizations have.
Social media implementation, webmaster, strategy development
I did realise that I am doing a lot of tasks at Solidaridad at once, while others have the luxury to focus on just maintaining a website or just setting up a social media strategy. While only being in this job for two months, I do not feel sorry that I haven’t been able to focus on just one part of online communication. However I do realise that it makes my tasks more difficult to get things done. Doing the right things first. It also made me realise that Solidaridad’s focus lies more on helping the people in the South. ‘Other NGO’s’ use a lot of money for marketing & communication to create even more money by influencing stakeholders.
Solidaridad & Fairfood and some other Dutch non government organizations are taking part in a social media campaign, to raise funds, called “6x6x6 op Reis“. I have had some conversations with Felicé, who’s organizing the campaign, but I have never met her. Funny enough when I went to the table to find myself a place to have a starter. I noticed someone smiling when she saw my name badge. “Hello Maarten”. Who are you? I recognise your face, but who are you? Thanks to social media.
Change happens on all levels in the supply chain
Frank’s words are at the beginning of the evening were not new. But’s good to be reminded. Change takes place on levels within a supply chain. Because it’s a supply chain is like the water cycle. It’s all connected and all needs to be addressed to make change happen. There’s an urgency to making change happen, true… Food security, environmental issues, and so on are serious and like an iceberg you are able to see the top above the water but are unable to grap the seize of the iceberg.
Communication, marketing & research efforts therefore should focus on “preparing all parts” of the supply chain. Not just on creating consumer awareness and find financial aid to achieve goals. Trial and error are part of the proces of change. Cause we don’t have time to wait to we understand all tools and before we have figured out how new techniques can be used to make change happen.
Great conversations at the table can be summarized in: Creativity, setting goals, measurement and evaluation should be part of all modern movements, fighting poverty and creating a better.
Mergers and acquisitions: creating sustainable organisations fighting poverty?
In the corporate world mergers and acquisitions are part of a process to create sustainable entities that are strongholds for the long run. Some, however, do a poor job in finding good corporate social responsibility process.. but they survive. Because the gain knowledge and financial strength by doing so.
Takeovers & mergers are not very common within the NGO world. Most organisations are looking for partnerships in which they can stay independent. It is a necessity to all who fight poverty to work more closely together and to set aside the differences and to find common goals. So yes we must the transform the food industry, but ‘we also have to take a good look at ourselves as part of the entire supply chain.
Who are we?
Who are we? Good question. We is you and me and you. We have different roles to play in life. We are business owners, consumers, politicians, volunteers, citizens with voting power, Joe the Plumber and his family, celebrities, film makers. We are the People, in people, planet and prosperity. Now let’s transform the food industry.
The food was fair and great, the people nice and diplomatic. I had a great evening, unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep my promise: “First in, last out”… Anyway it’s good to have ambitions. Just like it’s a valid ambition to change the food industry.