Environmental protection and sustainability at small and medium-sized enterprises

Project description

Title: Consolidation of and its environmental component in Guatemala and Honduras
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras
Lead executing agency: Mexico: Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AMEXCID) Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation, Guatemala: Ministerio de Economía de la República de Guatemala (MINECO), Cámara de Industria de Guatemala (CIG)/Ministry of Economy of Guatemala, Chamber of Industry of Guatemala, Honduras: Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores y Cooperación Internacional de Honduras (SRE)/Department for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Honduras
Overall term: 2017 to 2019

Context is a website for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), operated by the Mexican retailers’ association (ANTAD). It is an internet platform with a linked database for supermarkets, department stores and suppliers, and is used by more than 17,000 retailers to offer their products to buyers. In 2015, this virtual platform was opened up to retailers from Guatemala and Honduras.

The catalyst for this move was a triangular cooperation arrangement between Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Germany, in which Germany (as an industrialised country) worked together with Mexico to facilitate access to the attractive Mexican market for the two developing countries. The companies also began to produce their goods and services in a more environmentally friendly manner, which in turn strengthened sustainable development in the region.

Another aim of the triangular cooperation was to incorporate Guatemala and Honduras into the value chains of buyers in Mexico. This opening up of the market was accompanied by the introduction of an environmental component that promotes sustainable production methods in companies. Companies can use a questionnaire to assess their knowledge and capacity in terms of environmental protection and resource efficiency. The questionnaire provides the companies with an estimate of the degree to which their operations are environmentally sound, for example in terms of energy consumption, water use and recycling. In addition, the component gives the participating companies recommendations regarding certification or training courses on corporate environmental management.

The triangular cooperation is the first cooperation arrangement within the framework of the Regional Fund for Triangular Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is funded primarily by the private sector. Dialogue between the various stakeholders takes place on an ongoing basis (multi-stakeholder approach). Due to the success of the cooperation, the participating countries have decided to embark on a second phase of triangular cooperation aimed at focusing the environmental component even more on sustainability.


The platform is firmly established in Guatemala and Honduras and is being opened up to more sectors. The business model of the platform and its environmental component is consolidated.



The project helps SMEs to implement tailor-made, financially sustainable business plans. Suppliers and buyers are given training courses and train the trainer courses in order to implement long-term business models.

The environmental component is targeted more at sustainability. Sharing their experiences allows private sector cooperation partners in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to develop joint solutions that can be used to increase the competitiveness of the retail trade. Companies are made aware of a new business model, and economic as well as environmental and social aspects are taken into account.

The governments of Mexico and Germany, which are supported by their respective cooperation agencies, namely AMEXCID and GIZ, provide the project partners with technical advisory services. The aim of such services is to open up to more local and regional buyers and expand the range of products and services of SMEs on the site.


Within two years, around 500 companies from Guatemala and Honduras have been included in and are making use of the environmental component.

100 suppliers and 30 buyers have taken part in training courses on sustainable business models. Thanks to train-the-trainer measures, there are now ten local trainers. Furthermore, for each chamber of commerce, the project has developed two initiatives which have contributed to the platform’s financial sustainability, its environmental component and thus to the creation of income for local businesses and the local population.

The project has developed the capacity and the networks of the chambers and associations in both countries so as to enable them to independently design their own national portals for and to provide support to their members. In so doing, the aforementioned institutions expand their range of services, focusing in particular on the environmentally compatible development of companies.

Additional information