March 17, 2019
Challenge The challenge was to integrate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Guatemala and Honduras as new suppliers for commercial chains and to boost their competitiveness in the retail sector supply chain. This would be achieved by replicating the platform developed by ANTAD, a retailers’ association, while increasing their commitment to sustainable production and consumption. In addition, the project faced the challenge of convincing small producers to adopt clean practices, which at times require important initial investments, but in the long term are offset by lower energy costs and better brand recognition. Towards a Solution To address this challenge, the Platform project and its environmental component, supported by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID), sought to contribute to the development of new suppliers for commercial chains. Additionally, its goal was to increase competitiveness in the retail sector supply chain by transferring the platform developed by the ANTAD to SMEs in Guatemala and Honduras. The project was fully aligned with the development policies and objectives of the ministries, chambers and SMEs of the recipient partners. The platform project included an environmental self-analysis divided into three thematic components: a legal framework on environmental protection; practices for more efficient operations; and the systematization of environmental practices and certifications. One of the pressing challenges that the initiative faced was coordinating a relatively large number of stakeholders in three partner countries with the beneficiaries, facilitated by Germany and Mexico. Another challenge was related to the limited time period set by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) in each country office (Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico) to carry out the financial management activities due to its internal policies, standards and administrative procedures. However, all partners committed to engage in joint learning and promote horizontal governance through bi-monthly meetings and planning workshops. Additionally, an important element of the project’s success was the leading role of the private sector, particularly ANTAD, during both the negotiation and implementation phases. The project provided incentives for SMEs in Guatemala and Honduras to operate in an environmentally sound fashion and thereby contribute to sustainable economic development. The platform made it possible to increase the competitiveness of SME suppliers in Guatemala and Honduras by incorporating best practices in environmental sustainability. Similarly, the platform promoted knowledge transfer, capacity-building among the chambers of commerce, and the establishment of business links with buyers of commercial chains in Mexico. As a result, 508 companies were registered in the platform; of those, 367 participated in an environmental analysis. Training was provided to 40 companies in Honduras, particularly SMEs, on business practices and sustainability in order to promote them in the retail sector. Guatemalan and Honduran suppliers reported 180 potential business links. These suppliers are being monitored to see how many of them will realize concrete business opportunities from these links. A total of 17 companies from both countries have participated as exhibitors in the Expo ANTAD & Alimentaria in 2017 and 2018. Due to the positive results, a second phase of the project has been approved for 2018. Its implementation phase is already underway and will conclude in mid-2019. The objective of the second phase is to consolidate the platform and its environmental component in Guatemala and Honduras by expanding and diversifying companies in regions and sectors, as well as implementing financial sustainability strategies. Moreover, the environmental component will shift from an exclusively environmental perspective to a comprehensive sustainability one, in alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, the second phase will also seek to develop local capacities by training buyers and suppliers in topics such as sustainable trade and the integration of suppliers into the retail sector supply chain. The initiative received strong support from the private sector because it was in line with their business interests and model, which is essential to replicate the project in other areas and ensure its sustainability. Countries/Regions involved: Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Supported by: Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) and Germany: GIZ, BMZ and COPLAN Project status: Completed Project period: 2015?2017 URL of the practice: Contact: Mr. Mario Morales Cabrera, Deputy Director General for Economic Cooperation, Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) Email: