Triangular cooperation between Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Germany: Promoting small and medium-sized suppliers via the ANTAD.biz platform and its environmental component
Project title: Regional fund for the promotion of triangular cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean – individual measure: Promoting small and medium-sized suppliers via the ANTAD.biz platform and its environmental component
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Guatemala and Honduras (recipient countries), Mexico (partner country)
Overall term: 2015 to 2017
Economic development is key to reducing poverty. This also applies to Central America, where many people earn an income working for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular. However, environmentally friendly production methods are not yet widespread.
In its most recent National Development Plan, Guatemala has identified the green economy, technological innovation and greater competitiveness as strategic driving forces to increase growth and reduce poverty and inequality. Enhancing competitiveness is a priority shared by the neighbouring country Honduras, together with an emphasis on the productive sector, with particular support provided to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The Mexican retailers’ association, ANTAD, operates a virtual platform and database for supermarkets, department stores and suppliers. The ANTAD.biz internet platform also makes it easier for SMEs to market their products and offer them to buyers. In 2014, the association and GIZ added an environmental component to ANTAD.biz. This gives companies a tool which they can use to assess their knowledge and capacity in terms of environmental protection and resource efficiency. Where there is scope for improvement, companies are offered tailored advice or training courses.
The virtual platform ANTAD.biz facilitates access to the attractive Mexican market for SMEs from Guatemala and Honduras. Their position within the value chain is strengthened and their competitiveness enhanced. The companies are beginning to produce their goods and services in a more environmentally friendly manner, which in turn reinforces sustainable development in the region.
Within two years, at least 450 companies from Guatemala and Honduras will be included in ANTAD.biz and will make use of the environmental component. In this regard, GIZ and ANTAD are working together closely with the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP), the Tegucigalpa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIT), and the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala (CIG).
The project partners provide support to companies for setting up their websites and help new participants complete the questionnaire used to analyse their environmental impact. This assesses the degree to which companies' current business operations are environmentally sound, for example in terms of energy and water consumption as well as recycling. In addition, the project gives participants recommendations regarding certification or training courses on corporate environmental management. The assessment is based on international standards and on the sustainability criteria of major buyers. Companies are made aware of the importance of sustainability aspects both for their business strategy and the marketing of their products.
The project is developing the capacity of the chambers and associations in both countries so as to enable them to design their own national portals for accessing ANTAD.biz and provide support to their members on how to use the website. In so doing, the aforementioned institutions expand their range of services, focusing in particular on the environmentally compatible development of companies.
The triangular cooperation measure draws on existing successful cooperation arrangements, for example with the regional Latin American Supermarket Association (ALAS) and the Cooperation Platform for Northern Latin America (COPLAN) which GIZ is supporting on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The project is designed to provide impetus to environmentally friendly SMEs and thus contribute to sustainable economic development and poverty reduction in the region.