IDH, the sustainable trade initiative

IDH, the sustainable trade initiative has tracked the execution of their Women’s Empowerment programme in the Ethiopian floriculture sector since its pilot phase and adapted where necessary. This is all done on a continuous basis using gender disaggregated data which is how they fulfil Step 4: Track Implementation and Results of the Gender-Responsive Due Diligence process.

In 2015, IDH helped implement a pilot 15-month women’s empowerment programme with Business for Social Responsibility and Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association. The pilot programme consisted of assessing various flower farms on health and welfare standards as well as determining which parts of their programme were most useful for this sector, such policy intervention. The results from this programme found that sustainable change would only come from intensive and specialised trainings and policies that were aimed specifically at promoting gender equality. IDH agreed to co-fund the new and improved women’s empowerment programme with a more robust approach as their tracking of the 2015 implementation efforts showed a willingness to update policies and attending trainings at even more farms.

Impact assessment goals

IDH tracked the implementation of the 2015 pilot, and then used the learnings from it to launch the new women’s empowerment programme in 2016. This included refining their impact assessment goals in order for the programme to more successfully deal with adverse risks. These goals were:

  • Reaching 20,000 general workers of target farms.
  • Improve the practices, policies and procedures of 42 farms.
  • Support gender sensitive training of managers and workers.
  • Prevention of harassment and assault.
  • Improved worker health and wellbeing.

“With gender-disaggregated data, they can monitor the success of gender interventions carried out by companies and assess whether these inventions need to be improved on or adapted in any way.”


By December 2017, through constant tracking and adapting of the women empowerment programme, IDH reported these gender-specific successes amongst others:

  • 237 women & 60 men who are gender committee members received gender-responsive training.
  • 11,783 women & 2,327 men workers were then trained by these gender committees.
  • 12 farms established the gender policies and procedures introduced by IDH.
  • 18 farms followed a project sustainability workshop.
  • The absenteeism rate of workers, particularly women, decreased by 8% on the Rainbow Flower Farm, one of the target farms.

IDH has also ensured that all of the collected data is recorded with specific gender indicators. With this gender-disaggregated data, they can monitor the success of gender interventions that are carried out and assess whether these inventions need to be improved or adapted in any way. It also helps them to compare the results with gender-specific achievements across the sector.

“Learnings from the pilot phase has showed that lasting improvement of (women) workers’ health and welfare status requires a “change in mind set” at the farm level.”

Application to other enterprises

IDH actively uses most steps of Gender-Responsive Due Diligence (GRDD) process in their many programmes, however this floriculture case study specifically highlights the success of implementing Step 4.  Other businesses should use this case study as an example of how to actively combat gender issues, monitor gender-focused interventions and evaluate the successes and flag possible improvements in business practices. This will give value to the interventions and make them more sustainable for both the workers and business as a whole.