Project Sunrise: Final report | Oxfam

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In July 2010 Oxfam and the international consumer goods company Unilever signed up to work together for five years on learning how to do business with women and men smallholders in a way that improves their livelihoods and that informs Unilever's business model and Oxfam's development model. Together we collaborated on research to look at Unilever's and other companies' business models for engaging with smallholder farmers. Our aim was to inform how sustainable smallholder-based supply chains that are both commercially viable and effective at reducing poverty for marginalised women and men smallholders can be improved and taken to a greater scale. Both Oxfam and Unilever continue to share learning from the project to influence other companies to invest in business models that reduce poverty for some of the world's poorest farmers and their families.
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  PROJECT SUNRISE Final Report 1 projecT Sunrise final report  PROJECT SUNRISE Final Report 2   Foreword 3Introduction 4Strategic context 4Origins and motivations 4Key stakeholders 6Timeline 7What Sunrise set out to do and how 8What actually happened 9Sunrise 2.0 10What did we achieve? 10What did we learn? 12How has Sunrise contributed more widely 16 to each organisation?What next? 16Annex A – MoU as signed in July 2010 17Annex B – Sunrise 2.0 programme 25 descriptionAnnex C – Budget report 27 Contents  PROJECT SUNRISE Final Report 3 This is the final report on a joint programme between Unilever and Oxfam on learning how to do business with smallholder farmers, carried out between 2010 and 2015. Sunrise has been a journey for both organisations in terms of learning how to do business with smallholders in ways that can bring commercial and developmental successes; and in learning how to work with each other, as two very different organisational entities. It began as an ambition to set up on the ground practical projects from which to create commercially viable sources of supply for Unilever, and to extract learning from this that could be scaled up across the procurement operations of Unilever and other similar companies.Two years into the project it became clear that while Unilever and Oxfam were learning a great deal about each other, they were not going to reach the envisaged scale and ambition by focusing on single, practical projects. The seismic shift in business thinking introduced by the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at the end of 2010 committed Unilever to a far greater ambition in terms of impact than that planned for by Sunrise. The question for the project thus became how we could help deliver on Unilever’s ambition, capture and share learning, and contribute to developing Oxfam programmes and campaigns in the private sector arena.“Sunrise 2.0” reframed the project, and our sponsors granted us licence to explore in depth existing supply networks where smallholders were already benefiting from engagement with Unilever and other similar businesses, in one way or another. From this research we have extracted some key success factors for lead firms in shaping inclusive procurement; delivered guidance and training for procurement operations on working with suppliers to enhance livelihoods; and built Oxfam’s capacity to engage more effectively with private sector partners on the development of value chain initiatives. Justin Tait – Sunrise Learning Programme Manager   Foreword PROJECT SUNRISE Final Report 3  PROJECT SUNRISE Final Report 4 In 2010, Oxfam and Unilever signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together on learning how to do business with smallholder farmers in a way that is commercially viable and improves livelihoods.The aim was to learn how to improve the livelihoods of women and men smallholder farmers within the context of a shared commitment to sustainability and food security, and so bring together the development expertise of Oxfam with the commercial expertise of Unilever. Strategic context Oxfam came to the collaboration with the aim to “create fair and sustainable markets and to support enterprise development as a major strategy to change power relations and increase the voice, influence and economic share of people living in poverty”. Oxfam engages with companies such as Unilever with the goal to “increase the participation of smallholders and enterprises in supply chains and informal markets in ways that benefit producers; and achieve an equitable and sustainable food supply system”.Unilever approached the collaboration with an organisation-wide commitment to sustainable sourcing, improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, especially women, and contributing to food security. This was formalised in late 2010 with the launch of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP).An outline of Unilever’s approach to sustainability as well as a host of other sustainability goals is articulated in the USLP. The plan set a goal to show evidence of improvement of the livelihoods of at least 500,000 smallholder farmers in the supply network, by helping them improve their agricultural practices and thus enabling them to become more competitive. Origins and motivations In 2007, the idea for Sunrise was sparked during a conversation between Oxfam and Unilever staff while they were on a Learning Journey in Honduras, organised by Oxfam and The Sustainable Food Lab. Both organisations saw potential benefits in collaborating in the area of smallholder sourcing. The business case for Sunrise “We were curious. Unilever has many smallholders in its supply chains globally. But how do we engage them in a better way? How do we create supply chains that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable? We thought partnering with Oxfam could help us to learn about this.” (Unilever)   Introduction PROJECT SUNRISE Final Report 4
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