Strengthening ICSR in G4AW Projects

The Netherlands Space Office (NSO) is administering the subsidy program ‘Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW)’ on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With this program, the NSO is using public-private partnerships to stimulate projects that use satellite data to provide innovative information services to small-scale farmers in partner countries in Africa and Asia. The goal of the program is to contribute to the strengthening of global food security and more sustainable water use. Increasing the income of the small-scale farmers is also an important goal.

The NSO believes that it is important for the project consortia to stimulate socially responsible business. It is also important to reduce any negative side effects of the G4AW projects as much as possible, while increasing their positive effects. In 2017, CREM provided various supports to the NSO to aid them in achieving these goals.

ICSR Policy for Organizations

The very first step was to analyze the ICSR policies of the seventeen currently operating G4AW projects, using the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. On the basis of this analysis, practical tips for strengthening the organizations’ policies were formulated.

Reviewing G4AW Project Proposals

Project proposals for the recent G4AW call were then assessed for sustainability and ICSR. The three main criteria for the assessment were delineated into: (1) the organizations’ ICSR policies, (2) the governance of the project itself (including various socio-economic aspects of sustainability, such as human rights, fair competition, corruption and the effects on local communities), and (3) the environmental and climate effects of the project. Each main criterion was separated into a large number of sub-criteria. A project’s score on these criteria is considered when determining whether to allow it to qualify. Another part of this assessment is the identification of possible negative impacts of the project, or the risks. The process also looks for opportunities to strengthen the sustainability of the project. The results form part of the funding decision for the project.

For more information: Victor de Lange