Impact Report 2022

Towards a sustainable future

Towards a sustainable future together

More and more countries finally re-opened their borders over the course of 2022. That meant we could once again visit our partner organizations in the Netherlands and abroad in person. There, more than ever,  we were confronted by the challenges they face, such as the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, high inflation, and the effects of climate change. 

I look back with great appreciation in the way they kept going over the past year, and how they dealt with the problems they faced on a daily basis. I’m therefore proud of my colleagues, active in 22 countries, who supported our partners with the best solutions that are so desperately needed today – and especially for a sustainable tomorrow.

Lidwien Schils
Director, Rabo Foundation
Lidwien Schils

Our impact

In the Netherlands, social entrepreneurs set the standard for the future

The number of social entrepreneurs in the Netherlands is growing from year to year, and 2022 was no exception. Many of them were able to scale up and reach even more people. Which may be because Dutch social entrepreneurs have organized themselves more professionally than ever before, as the most recent Social Enterprise Monitor study concluded. 

And that was despite the challenges entrepreneurs in the Netherlands have faced recently. Such as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, but also high inflation, shortages of raw materials and the rise in energy prices. Fortunately, we have also noticed an increase in attention paid to sustainable and socially responsible products. That presents plenty of opportunities for social entrepreneurs. They are the frontrunners of the transition towards a social and sustainable economy.

Over the past year, we reinforced social enterprises with financing, and with our network. To help entrepreneurs get ahead, we also strengthened our collaboration with local banks, and joined forces with Rabobank’s Startup and Scale-Up Team and the Circular Entrepreneurship Desk.

 

Social Capital’s unique circular employment process

The challenge
Many people with a visible or invisible disability have difficulty finding or keeping a job. The same applies to refugees and people with challenging backgrounds, such as former inmates or former addicts.

The solution
Social Capital offers people with a disability both employment and the guidance they need. They are given a job and mentoring by a job coach, and they are trained at a number of fixed locations. The next step in their careers is secondment to other companies. From there, they are either offered a permanent position, or they can transfer to another Social Capital location.

Rabo Foundation’s role
Social Capital’s mission is a perfect fit with our goal to help people who have trouble finding a job to enter the job market. So in 2020, we financed Social Capital to get them started. And we provided financing again in 2022, to help Social Capital scale up to even more locations.

Internationally, smallholder farmers play a crucial role in food security

Hier maken we het verschil

Buiten Nederland zijn we actief in landen met veel kleinschalige boeren in een achtergestelde positie. Dáár kunnen we de grootste positieve verandering bereiken. Je vindt ons in maar liefst 22 landen op 4 continenten.

Europa

Nederland

Azië

Cambodja
Filipijnen
India
Indonesië
Sri Lanka
Vietnam

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Afrika

Ghana
Ivoorkust
Kenia
Oeganda
Rwanda
Tanzania

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Latijns-Amerika

Bolivia
Brazilië
Colombia
Ecuador
Mexico
Nicaragua
Peru

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Around the world, we work on behalf of the smallholder farmers who are the foundation of the food chain. They produce at least one third of the world’s food supply, and therefore play a vital role in feeding our growing global population. Our support focuses on helping them get a higher and fair price for their products. And on helping them improve their crops sustainably, in order to secure their incomes over the long term. We believe these are the building blocks for a better life.

In 2022, our focus expanded to making smallholder farmers more resilient against the negative effects of climate change. Extreme drought and excessive rainfall are increasingly affecting their harvests, and therefore their futures.

Africa makes itself more resilient to climate change

After the coronavirus pandemic, farmers in Africa were once again hit hard by the effects of the war in Ukraine in 2022. That is because smallholder farmers in Africa import at least half of their grain and fertilizer. Inflation rose as a result, and the farmers faced volatile price fluctuations for their products.

They also continue to face the effects of climate change. East Africa was confronted with extreme drought, causing failed harvests and loss of livestock. Kenya faced its driest period in 40 years. On the other extreme, West Africa was burdened by heavy rainfall and flooding.

So last year, we mainly focused on encouraging climate-smart agriculture to make farmers more resilient against climate change. To do that, we supported more innovative partnerships, like the one with Kaderes, Achmea Foundation and Rabobank’s Acorn platform. This enabled us to provide long-term support to farmers with a combination of financing, encouraging climate-smart agroforestry and extra income from the sale of CO2 retained in trees.

Agroforestry in Tanzania

Kaderes supports coffee farmers in Tanzania with climate-smart entrepreneurship

The challenge
Extreme poverty forces Tanzanian coffee farmers to work their land using unsustainable farming practices. But that only exacerbates the consequences of climate change and lowers the quality of the beans. The result: lower yields, and even more poverty.

The solution
Our partner Kaderes supports coffee farmers in the transition to agroforestry: planting other food-producing trees and shade trees among the coffee plants. This approach improves soil quality, the quality of the coffee beans, and the farmers’ incomes. The CO2 captured by the trees is sold via the Acorn platform, which gives the farmers an extra source of income. This contributes to food security, along with larger harvests of higher-quality coffee beans.

Rabo Foundation’s role
Rabo Foundation and Achmea Foundation shared the financing of the Kaderes agroforestry center. The center will eventually collaborate with 4,500 farmers. This project fits seamlessly with Rabo Foundation’s core mission of encouraging climate-smart agriculture and stronger value chains.

Latin America deploys on sustainable growth

We collaborate with several cocoa and coffee organizations in Latin America. In 2022, they were not only confronted with the consequences of climate change, but also with the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and general rise and scarcity of input prices. Coffee cooperatives saw their prices – and therefore their profits – decrease dramatically as a result of market volatility. Cocoa farmers faced a limited workforce and lowering attention to proper fertilization, resulting in crop diseases and poor-quality cocoa. Moreover, increased use of chemical pesticides resulted in cocoa batches being rejected by buyers under EU legislation for imports.

We supported these cocoa and coffee farmers by providing extra technical assistance. We also focused on climate-smart projects in this region that improved farmers’ lives and incomes, along with the quality of the ecosystems. For example by financing farmers’ organizations to help them diversify their crops. But we are most proud of thecreative projects that solved multiple problems, like the one in Lambayeque in northern Peru. Farmers there switched from farming rice to growing beans for higher yields and a beneficial impact on the environment.

Switch to new crop in Peru

With APRODES, rice farmers in Peru become climate-smart bean farmers

The challenge
Rice farmers in Lambayeque, on the northern coast of Peru, live in extreme poverty. Due water shortages in the area, the land produces less rice than usual. Changing their situation themselves is difficult, because there is a lack of technical know-howe and access to finance.

 The solution
With the switch to bean cultivation, farmers were able to increase their income, use less water and improve the soil quality. Our project partner APRODES supports them by providing high quality seeds and technical assistance, and by selling the beans on the local market.

Rabo Foundation’s role
We provided APRODES with financing that allowed farmers to produce beans with high-quality seeds, offer technical support and pay the farmers in advance. Today, 50 farmers are successfully collaborating with APRODES in this pilot program.

 

Asia, The continent of extremes

Climate change remains a major challenge in Asia; from droughts in Indonesia to flooding in Cambodia and typhoons in Vietnam. That’s why we are committed to make farmers more resilient to the effects of climate change. And we increasingly do that in more remote regions.

In Indonesia, our portfolio grew to more than 30 partners. We invested in the production of organic coffee in Aceh, rubber in Kalimantan, fishing in Sulawesi and the harvest of nutmeg and cocoa in West Papua.

In India, the year 2022 was characterized by our growing role as a supporter of agtechs which facilitate smallholder farmers. As a result, large standard banks in the countries where we work are more willing to finance agtechs and farmers’ cooperatives.

We’re therefore proud of the partnerships that help us realize economic and ecological impact. Especially the partnership with IKEA Foundation and four Indian banks, with large-scale support for climate-smart projects by and for female farmers.

Climate-smart farmers in India

IKEA Foundation and Rabo Foundation guarantee loans for female farmers

The challenge
One-third of India’s smallholder farmers are women. They are often in a disadvantaged position and have trouble obtaining financing. Unfortunately, they desperately need that financing to make their farms more climate-smart to face the growing impact of climate change, and to secure their incomes.

The solution
Financing for 159,000 smallholder farmers, mainly women, via four local banks. The funding enables them to implement climate-smart technologies, such as cold storage and intelligent solar-powered irrigation systems.

Rabo Foundation’s role
Together with IKEA Foundation, we’ve set up a fund worth eight million euros to back loans worth around 55 million euros with a guarantee facility to female smallholder farmers by four major Indian banks. In the process, we can accelerate climate-smart agriculture and secure their incomes over the long term.

Financial Statements

Together with our project partners, we work on lasting positive change worldwide. All of which is made possible by the annual financial contributions provided by Rabobank, Rabo employees, private individuals and businesses. More than 4,000 Rabobank employees are donors.

Rabo Foundation invested 48 million euros to build a more inclusive and sustainable society in 2022. That is 8 million euros more than in 2021. We provided this amount in the form of loans, donations and guarantees for 400 organizations in 22 countries.

87% of the funds went to producer organizations and savings and loan cooperatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These contributions amounted to a total of 41.6 million euros (2020: 36 million euros).

13% of our funding went to social enterprises in the Netherlands, for a total amount of 6.4 million euros (2020: 4.7 million euros).