SHARP history

The SHARP idea was initially developed by Sime Darby, one of the world’s leading plantation companies, who worked with Proforest, Solidaridad and The Forest Trust to further develop the SHARP concept with input from a growing number of partners and supporters.

In 2011, a first kick-off meeting to discuss SHARP was convened by Sime Darby and was held in London, UK. It brought together approximately 15 organisations from around the world who were interested in being involved with and further develop the SHARP concept. The outcome of this meeting was extremely positive. Participants started the programme design phase of SHARP, particularly looking into the various roles and responsibilities of the potential project partners and the types of activities SHARP could support on the ground.

In 2012, as SHARP’s first set of implementation activities; a series of workshops were held in Liberia, which brought together key stakeholders, including government representatives, companies, NGOs and smallholders themselves, to discuss challenges faced by smallholders, and to identify options to practical smallholder development in Liberia, including funding mechanisms.

From 2013 the partnership stepped up to a new level with the establishment of a full time secretariat, the commissioning regional baseline studies in West Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America and the adoption of plans to work on three distinct programme; Models for sustainable smallholder development, Smallholder access to responsible supply chains and Practical approaches to minimise deforestation. 2014 saw the appointment of a SHARP Director and Focal Points for each of the 3 SHARP regions - SNV for South East Asia, Rainforest Alliance for West & Central Africa and Proforest Brazil for Latin America.

SHARP progressed from a set of ideas to a tangible programme of work with partners across the world, working with many different production and supply chain companies as well as financial organisations and civil society organisation concerned with social and environmental issues. Out of this collaboration new tools and approaches for working with smallholders were borne. In 2015 the RSS framework and unified HCV approach for smallholders were tested and refined through field work across three continents.

SHARP is now focussed on working with companies on smallholder engagement, developing and refining these practical open-source tools and approaches for this purpose and building capacity for their uptake.