About INA

The Goals of the Initiative

The Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) is an association of players from within the private sector, civil society, and politics.

Together, we want to achieve greater sustainability across global agricultural supply chains and improve the living conditions of smallholders.


The Initiative's work

The INA works independently of individual raw materials. It is committed to the development of sustainable regions where a cross-commodity approach comes into play.

INA is likewise looking into  digital solutions for supporting producers as well as increasing supply chain transparency and will serve as an information platform.

INA sees itself as an open platform and experimental field. Within the framework of INA, around 90 actors have found fertile ground for coming together to be active with like-minded people.

Our work is focused on the main themes:

Living Income

In many countries of the world, smallholder families cannot make a living from their hard work in the fields. The income from agriculture is usually so low that many families can neither invest in their farms nor in education or a healthy diet. Only through living incomes can extreme poverty and the resulting child labour be combated in the long term. Higher incomes also help to increase the attractiveness of agriculture as an employment sector for future generations and thus secure the future supply of raw materials.

Therefore, INA is committed to realising living incomes along global supply chains. Because only a living wage is a fair wage.

Deforestation-free supply chains

Forests cover one third of the earth's surface, are the habitat for many of the known animal and plant species and important climate protectors. They are also the basis of life for more than 1.6 billion people.

But forests are under threat. Every four seconds, forests the size of a football field disappear. About half of the global forest destruction affects the tropical forests at the equator, one of the most important cultivation zones for agricultural raw materials such as palm oil, soy, rubber, coffee and cocoa.

The widespread clearing is often due to large companies and their plantations. However, due to the disastrous income situation, low productivity and crop failures as a result of climatic changes, many smallholder families are also forced to expand their cultivation areas and clear valuable forest for this purpose.


Digitalisation can make a decisive contribution to improving the sustainability of global agricultural supply chains and promoting living conditions in rural areas. Information services on mobile devices enable smallholder farmers to access modern farming methods, weather data and world market prices, which can lead to a resource-efficient increase in their crop yields, improved product quality and higher incomes. It also provides access to innovation, financial and insurance services, and educational opportunities. By monitoring land use on the basis of satellite data, changes in land use areas can be detected.

Gender Equity

Women and other marginalized groups play an essential role in agricultural supply chains. However, their contributions and challenges are often invisible. Limited access to resources such as land, financing and modern technology prevents them from participating effectively in agricultural supply chains. They also face unequal pay and precarious working conditions. Disadvantage and discrimination are not only based on gender, but also on many other mutually reinforcing factors, such as skin color, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. 

Achieving gender equality in the agricultural sector not only means social justice, but also contributes to economic progress, food security and environmental protection. The elimination of inequalities is closely linked to political goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the "Leave no one behind" strategy, so that all people benefit from progress towards sustainable development. Cooperation at individual, institutional and political level is crucial to this.

INA is likewise looking into  digital solutions for supporting producers as well as increasing supply chain transparency and will serve as an information platform.

INA sees itself as an open platform and experimental field. Within the framework of INA, around 90 actors have found fertile ground for coming together to be active with like-minded people.

Expertise on agricultural commodities

The INA works with a cross-commodity approach. As part of the Sustainable Supply Chains and Standards program of the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ), it works closely with colleagues who have many years of expertise in individual raw materials. Through its close interaction with commodity-specific multi-stakeholder partnerships, INA is creating synergies to effectively combat deforestation and low wages and incomes.

The starting point

More than 400 million people live on the cultivation of agricultural commodities such as coffee, cocoa, bananas, palm oil or cotton. The cultivation of these raw materials is usually done in small-scale farming structures.

Smallholders are thus the basis for a secure, sustainable supply of food to the world's population. However, poverty, child labor, environmental problems and outdated cultivation methods continue to be major challenges in the cultivation of agricultural commodities.

In recent years, several commodity-specific multi-stakeholder partnerships (MAPs) have been set up to make agricultural supply chains more sustainable. Many companies are members of the relevant MAP platforms and also invest in their own sustainability programs. Certification through voluntary sustainability standards also makes an important contribution to the development of sustainable agricultural supply chains.

Nevertheless, low wages and incomes and deforestation continue to be a problem. A common approach by all actors across the borders of their supply chains promises greater impact.


In the brochure Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains you will find more information about our work, different measures and about the different raw materials. 

About the sustainability goals

INA is doing its part to work toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals:


About 1 billion people still live in poverty — defined as an income of less than US $1.25 per day. The targets under Goal 1 include aiming for a world where the poor are not vulnerable to climate change, and have “equal rights to economic resources.”


Ending hunger also includes ending malnutrition, protecting small farmers, and changing farming itself so that agriculture and ecosystems can co-exist. It also means protecting the genetic diversity of the crops we grow, while investing in research to make farming more and more productive, especially in developing countries. By 2030, we need to ensure that no one ever goes hungry.


At least 75 million young people around the world, aged 15-24, are unemployed, out of school, and looking at a bleak future. This goal, while calling for economic growth to help close that gap, also calls for innovation and for “decoupling” growth from ecosystem degradation.


The world’s nations (through the UN) have already agreed to a “10-year framework” to make the way we produce and consume goods more sustainable. This goal references that, but also covers topics like reducing food waste, corporate sustainability practice, public procurement, and making people aware of how their lifestyle choices make a difference.


Life on our beautiful planet earth is under terrible duress. This comprehensive goal covers nearly every aspect of the threat to living ecosystems and biodiversity. We cannot afford to lose any more nature, which is why the word "halt" is used repeatedly in the targets section.


Goal 17 is about making sure all countries have what they need — funds, capacities, technologies, etc. — to achieve the rest of the SDGs. The targets are a comprehensive list of such needs, including the need for partnerships and collaboration. Every country, every sector has a role to play!

10 Arguments for the INA