Episode #8: Joost Oorthuizen – how to push positive impact to scale

30 October 2018

Joost Oorthuizen

In this episode, I talk to Joost Oorthuizen, the chief executive of IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative.

Joost has led IDH for the ten years since its founding, and in that role has helped to broker projects on the ground in a number of sectors such as cocoa, palm oil, tea and many more, which have made real concrete progress in boosting sustainability and livelihoods for many thousands of people.

In this interview we talk about how he got to IDH, the five focuses they use to make the biggest impact on people’s lives and on the environment, and what are the priorities for action in the future.

Joost is a fantastic example of someone who took the opportunities in front of him to make a real difference to the world, and if that’s your aim as well, you should get a lot from this interview.

Show notes

How famine and the threat of war shaped Joost’s early outlook (1:45)

How come Joost became exposed at an early stage to the problems of poverty in developing country environments (2:55)

Why Joost moved from academia to become a change consultant, and what it taught him about the process of change (4:25)

Why public private partnerships were an early focus (7:01)

How and why IDH was created (8:35)

The vision for IDH at its creation, and the early first steps (11:25)

What drove the early engagement of the private sector in IDH (13:27)

What IDH has become now that it is ten years old (14:34)

The actions taken in cotton production that has made Better Cotton 20% of the world market (16:17)

The development of conditions in production of tea (19:13)

The obstacles to progress in getting decent wages for tea workers (21:47)

The five ‘externalities’ that IDH focuses on (25:28)

Inclusive business models for smallholders across the world (26:05)

Working to reduce and reverse deforestation (28:18)

Wages and labour conditions to continue progress on reducing poverty (32:55)

Responsible agrochemical management (33:58)

Gender equality and female empowerment (35:05)

What are the more important changes we need to achieve for the future? (37:02)

What has Joost learned over the decade about what makes a partnership successful? (39:45)

What are Joost’s ambitions for the next ten years at IDH? (42:02)

One change Joost would most want to achieve before hanging up his gloves (44:23)

Advice Joost would give to his younger self (45:03)

Change makers Joost has been inspired by (45:48)

Mistakes that Joost has made that turned out all right anyway (47:07)

A habit Joost would like to change (47:47)

Books that have had an impact on Joost’s life (49:10)

Advice that Joost would give to young change makers just starting out (50:30)