For her, partnerships are the key to success, no matter which side you are on. “Success only comes through cooperation,” she says, often referring to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 17, which envisions global cooperation based on partnerships leading to sustainable development. “Our work would not function at all without companies like Symrise. We need their influence, their support for the communities,” says Pilar Pedrinelli. At the Rainforest Alliance, Pedrinelli will, for now, focus on other areas in order to further publicize the work of the NGO. But she’ll keep an eye on vanilla. “Part of the commitment at Symrise is, for example, to support farmers in diversifying their agriculture with new products, thus securing their income and protecting the environment at the same time. That’s a very good approach,” she says. It would be conceivable, for example, to also certify these raw materials or to be involved in the projects right from the start.
From madagascar to the world
For Pilar Pedrinelli, the work being done in Madagascar is a huge step toward helping people improve their living conditions. “But at the time, we also thought about how we could make Vanilla For Change visible around the world and how we could get other people to see the commitment the way we see it,” she recalls. A suitable partner for this goal was the Canadian non-governmental organization ME to WE, which is also active in England. It motivates young people to get involved in their communities; a total of 100,000 young people are already involved. “ME to WE was exactly the right partner to communicate our story. Together we were able to convey a simple message,” says Unilever’s Ian Maskell. “Our commitment is driving a change that will benefit young people in Madagascar and the UK.”
The Unilever manager looks to the future in other ways, too. “We are considering how we can extend Vanilla For Change to other ice cream brands,” continues Maskell. But that’s not all – “The project was a kind of turning point for us as to how we can and want to work together with suppliers. In this way, we will also make the purchasing of other raw materials more sustainable – and here we have learned a lot from Vanilla For Change.”