SDG Project Work: Fairtrade Gouda

2023-11-13

Editie 6

Most people are familiar with Gouda Cheese, but did you know that the city of Gouda is home to the first Fairtrade street in the Netherlands? This shopping street, situated in the heart of the city, is home to numerous local businesses dedicated to supporting the goals of the Fairtrade Gouda Foundation. Since its inception in 2012, approximately one hundred businesses and organizations have joined this foundation. By doing so, both Fairtrade Gouda and these businesses have pledged their commitment to the international Fairtrade objective of transforming trade to benefit producers in developing countries.

Fairtrade’s work directly contributes to 10 out of the 17 sustainable development goals, as recognized by Fairtrade Netherlands. However, the foundation aspires to go even further, seeking to align with more SDGs and collaborate with a wider array of businesses and organizations. To realize these ambitious goals at the local level, the municipality of Gouda became a Global Goals Municipality last September. Yet, a critical question persists: how can these objectives be effectively translated into actionable initiatives?

This is where our team steps in. As a group of four trainees (Femke, Anne, Daphne, Chaya), we have been working with Fairtrade Gouda, a non-profit organization committed to transforming Gouda into a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable municipality. One of the challenges we face is actively engaging medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sustainability efforts in Gouda. And to provide them with the tools to address the challenges in their own sustainable network in the future. Challenges we are enthusiastic to address during our traineeship.

(From left to right: Chaya Berger, Anne Kiewiet, Femke Soethout, Daphne Homan)

The project

Our objective is to formulate a successful framework that not only inspires entrepreneurs but also equips them with the necessary resources to expand the network of sustainable businesses. To give shape to our objective we had many conversations with Ad Ooms and Fred van Ipenburg from Fairtrade Gouda who have been guiding us through the process and introducing us to several stakeholders. We also undertook interviews with consumers and businesses in Gouda to gain insight into how present the topic sustainability and the sustainable development goals (SDG’s) currently are in Gouda. All these insights led us to the idea of organizing a networking meeting where business owners can inspire each other in ways to implement the SDG’s in their practices. During this meeting we will also offer the business owners practical tips to inspire them in achieving sustainability goals and will design a folder to inspire others to join the community.

So far we’ve already learned a lot about barriers that must be overcome to achieve a sustainable municipality. We found ways to combine our different backgrounds in achieving our goals and look forward to inspiring business and bringing Gouda one step closer to a sustainable future.

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