Rabobank-WWF partnership evaluated by PrC and Impact Centre Erasmus

For six years, Rabobank and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have been collaborating on several projects aimed at sustainable development. Their partnership has now been evaluated by the Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and the Impact Centre Erasmus at Erasmus University Rotterdam. The two research centres presented their findings during the recent conference 'Sustainable Development Goal 17: what makes a partnership successful?' on 5 July.

Balancing economic and conservation goals is a challenging task. Rabobank and WWF have joined forces to address such issues in the agricultural food chain, with partners from Brazil, Chile, India and the Netherlands. They have engaged in several projects aimed at sustainable development. PrC and the Impact Centre Erasmus evaluated the outcomes and impact of this partnership and presented their findings at the conference, hosted by Rabobank. Other speakers included film maker Rolf Winters and Director of the Forest Solutions Group and Climate Smart Agriculture Group at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Matthew Reddy.

Marieke de Wal, Managing Director of the PrC, explained that WWF and Rabobank started the partnership because it fitted their shared strategic goal of increasing sustainable agribusiness. She said collaborating on strategic issues allows for transformational results and distinguishes partnership projects.

In her presentation, Marieke de Wal focused on specific projects in Chile that concern responsible production in the salmon farming industry. She showed how several ‘markers for change’ – a Clean Production Agreement between six salmon farming companies and other stakeholders, for example – led to the key performance indicator: certification of salmon producers according to the ASC sector sustainable standards. The goal in Chile is to reach 20 per cent certification in 2020. With the current rate being 13 per cent, it seems to be going in the right direction.

Working in cross-sector partnerships is not ‘business as usual’. It can be challenging, and partners are sometimes unsure what to expect. In this case, however, the collaboration was fruitful. Kirsten Schuijt, CEO of the Dutch WWF: “It was not so much a bumpy ride, but rather a fascinating one.” Wiebe Draijer of Rabobank even labelled the partnerships as ‘a liberating experience, as it enabled partners to apply different lenses to the same problem.’

Evaluating this partnership and being part of the conference is closely connected to what both the PrC and the Impact Centre Erasmus aim to achieve: connecting science and practice. For more information on these centres and the work they do, please visit their websites.

For a full report on the day including video, please see the Rabobank website.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at mschouten@rsm.nl.

Partnerships Resource Centre