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UNIDO and METRO Group Extend Alliance for Sustainable Food Supplies


By: Gerardo Patacconi and Valentina Varbanova, UNIDO

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and METRO Group have joined efforts in a strategic partnership following a pro-poor and inclusive public-private partnership development scheme.

Through the partnership, suppliers gain access to profitable new market opportunities and establish long-lasting business linkages with potential buyers. The direct result of this cooperation is an increase in job and income opportunities and in the availability of safe food and products.

UNIDO and METRO Group ramped up their joint commitment in an official ceremony held in Düsseldorf, Germany on 2 September 2011, where UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of METRO AG, Eckhard Cordes, signed a new cooperation agreement. The scope of the latter was expanded to include social, ethical and environmental sustainability in addition to upgrading quality and safety in order to foster suppliers’ access to markets. The new agreement also focuses on promoting local economic development and inclusiveness of small producers by developing clusters of local suppliers to the benefit of local communities as well as on formulating and implementing CSR-related projects to complement supplier development and market access projects. The high-level meeting ended with a discussion between Cordes, Yumkella, film-maker Valentin Thurn and Prof. Jürgen Wilhelm, Management Board member of the German Gesellschaft für international Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on the opportunities and limitations of sustainability projects, as well as new public-private partnerships.

Following the successful cooperation in Egypt and two recently initiated pilot projects in India and Russia, UNIDO and Metro Group committed to increasing the scope of the training and upgrading programs for producers and suppliers in China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Viet Nam covering food and non-food sector.

In South Africa, UNIDO supported a cooperative of local small producers of wine and horticulture products to establish business linkages with METRO and link UNIDO’s assistance to emerging agri-business clusters with the South African Agri-business Academy through pro-poor supply chain development, supplier upgrading and traceability. An initial contract was signed to distribute Shiraz 2010 wine through METRO stores in Europe.

UNIDO foresees the kick-off of a pilot project in Indonesia toward the end of the year, as well as plans to continue expanding the scope of its supplier development program to new countries. Currently UNIDO is negotiating with other leading retailers and manufacturers such as AEON, Auchan and Walmart to involve them in the program, respectively in South-East Asia, Russia and Africa.

For more information, please contact Gerardo Patacconi, UNIDO