ICCO Cooperation is a global, non-governmental organization. We work towards a world in which people can live in dignity and well-being, a world without poverty and injustice.
Who we are
ICCO is an independent non-governmental organization with business features. Our aim is to secure the livelihoods and rights of farmers and small businesses in low and middle-income countries.
Despite the fall in the number of people living in extreme poverty in the past decades, poverty remains pervasive and inequalities continue to increase. Millions of people are unable to realize their full potential.
We envision a world where people are empowered to build sustainable livelihoods within a society that upholds their rights. Our mission is to strengthen sustainable agricultural systems and realize resilient communities, with a special focus on women and youth.
How we work
Half of the world’s population is employed in the agricultural sector, with 75% of all farmers estimated to be living in poverty. Over 800 million people suffer hunger, two billion experience micronutrients deficiencies.
Sustainable agricultural systems
Current systems of agricultural production are neither sustainable nor sufficiently efficient to ensure food and nutrition security for present and future generations. ICCO strives to put value chains in place to grow, harvest, store, process, pack, transport, market and consume food, as well as to dispose food waste.
We trigger positive changes in markets to transform agricultural systems. Markets that are inclusive, and accessible for smallholders farmers, agripreneurs and small businesses, as well as environmentally and financially sustainable. We want to ensure the viability of small-farm and business economies as a contribution to the fight against poverty and undernourishment.
How we stand out
This systemic change demands for a long breath and a multi-stakeholder approach. We adopt inclusive social change, and enhance a business-oriented way of working.
Key points in our strategy are:
- Targeting small and medium enterprises
- Focus on women
- Fulfillment of different roles: developer, implementer, advocate
- Use of digital technologies to underpin impact
- Application of a tailored mix of financial instruments
- Cooperation in public-private partnerships
- Understanding the impact of religion on development
In concrete our program interventions focus on:
- Farmer training
- Access to agricultural inputs
- Access to finance
- Access to technology
- Access to markets
- Business and human rights
- Collective marketing
What we do
Our strategy to strengthen sustainable agricultural systems contributes to 3 interlinked goals.
1. Food and nutrition security
We strengthen the capacities of individual households to produce sufficient food, while also earning an income from farming.
2. Economic empowerment
We support poor farmers and producer organizations to seize economic opportunities to improve and sustain farmers’ livelihoods.
3. Emergency response
We create resilient communities that are adequately prepared for, and can effectively respond to disasters.
Sustainable Development Goals
These goals are closely aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 8.
In addition, they also contribute to the SDGs 6, 10, 11, 12 and 17.
The work of the ICCO organization is branded under the name ICCO Cooperation.
ICCO consists of a cooperative (2012), a foundation (1964) and the ICCO Group B.V. (2008), all established under Dutch law. The statutes of the foundation and cooperative are closely linked. Both have an identical mission and objective and a personele unie is arranged between the Executive Board of the cooperative and the Executive Board of the foundation.
The Supervisory Board of the cooperative oversees the Executive Board and approves the annual report of the foundation. The members of the Executive Board are also the two directors of the ICCO Group B.V. The cooperative holds 100% of shares of the ICCO Group B.V.
For a complete overview of our legal structure we refer to our annual report.
ICCO has founded the following companies:
Truvalu: develops fair and inclusive agrifood chains
FairClimateFund: provides poor households access to clean cooking by selling carbon credits
Fair & Sustainable Consulting: offers services in development cooperation
Capital 4 Development Partners: invests in SMEs that create impact.
ICCO has a decentralized organizational structure in 5 regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America with (sub)regional offices. We are present in 25 countries and run programs in 76 countries.
The control over strategy, policy and funds of the organization is shared by the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board.
The Executive Board is jointly responsible for the whole organization. The Board consists of:
Sybren Attema – CEO since the 1st of July 2019. Before ICCO he was Global Manager of FrieslandCampina’s Dairy Development Program, based in Vietnam and later in the Netherlands. Sybren was responsible for the management of large public-private partnerships. Previously he was also chairman of the Supervisory Board of Royal Friesland Foods N.V. and played a key role in the successful merger between Friesland Foods and Campina in 2008.
Attema is joint director of the ICCO Group B.V., of which the Coöperatie ICCO U.A. is the only shareholder.
The Supervisory Board oversees the functioning of the Executive Board. Members are:
Ir. J. (Johan) F. de Leeuw. Chairman of the Supervisory Board and member of the Remuneration Committee. Senior consultant in the Public Service, Chairman CTGB (College Admissions Pesticides and Biocides). Former Secretary-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and former Director-General of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.
Prof. Dr. Ir. G. (Gert) van Dijk. Member of the Audit Committee. Professor at Wageningen University, Nyenrode University and TiasNimbas, Tilburg University.
Drs. W. (Wim) Oosterom. Member of the de Audit Committee. Business economist and chartered accountant. He was Global Sector Manager at Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Mr. A. (Albert) Knigge. Partner Corporate Litigation, Houthoff Buruma. Knigge represents companies, financial institutions and professional service firms in complex multi-party often cross border litigation. Board member of the Netherlands Association for Civil Procedure.
Originally, the meaning of the acronym ICCO is Interkerkelijk Coördinatie Commissie Ontwikkelingshulp (= Interchurch Coordination Committee Development Aid). Nowadays ICCO is a name in itself.
The founder of ICCO was Jo Verkuyl. He worked as a missionary preacher in Indonesia, a man with an unconventional approach to aid in developing countries. As one of the very few in his time, Verkuyl believed that development work should be focused on the needs of the poor. He was convinced that all changes start at community level.
Compassion, justice and stewardship: these were the three values on which founding Verkuyl, protestant churches and Dutch civil society organizations established ICCO in 1964 on December 30th. These values guide us to this day.