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Economy Meets Values: the SÜDWIND Institute

Bonn’s annual partner organization 2021 is the SÜDWIND Institute in Bonn, which turns 30 this year.

A guest contribution from Bonn’s annual partner organization in 2021

Despite the still rampant pandemic, there are fortunately still occasions for rejoicing: The SÜDWIND Institute turns 30. Inspired by the ecumenical peace movement and the South Wind conjured up by Jim Wallis, 30 years ago some economists decided to put their science at the service of people and global justice.

Ever since, the Institute's scientific research and case studies have provided important groundwork for campaigns, lobbying, and political and corporate consulting: A multi-channel strategy on the way to a more sustainable economy.

The list of topics covered has grown over the decades: supply chains of (agricultural) raw materials, old clothes and sustainable investments are as much part of the portfolio as debt relief and global labour rights. 

One of the value chains, which SÜDWIND Institute analyses, is that of shoes and leather. Over the last years, the work of SÜDWIND – and many partner organizations globally – has shown that those value chains embrace the use of large amounts of toxic chemicals. 

In addition, they display very high risks of human rights violations. A recent study on two important production areas in India has just revealed how the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a poverty spiral also affecting those workers who had received a comparatively better income before the pandemic. While the workers are suffering massive income losses, they can neither use any private reserves nor relay on a functioning state security system.

Another recent focus stresses on child labour: Whether in the gold mines of Burkina Faso, growing cocoa in Cote d'Ivoire, on fishing boats in Senegal, in textile factories in Bangladesh or as soldiers in conflict areas, more than 152 million children are forced to work today. It is not about children helping to clean the table or peel potatoes. It is about being forced to work to the point of exhaustion instead of attending school.

Unfortunately, we must assume that in the course of the pandemic the cases of child labour will increase again.

Thus, the year of the anniversary will also be a year of special challenges. We are therefore particularly pleased to enjoy the support of the City of Bonn in meeting these challenges: The Annual Partnership 2021 gives SÜDWIND's work, efforts and successes a special podium. We are also pleased that 30 years of SÜDWIND means 25 years of Bonn as a UN city. Another locational advantage for the city of Bonn in the context of development policy and for SÜDWIND as an organization in terms of lively and fruitful networks.

Background information

Since the year 2000, the City of Bonn has invited Bonn-based international organizations to an annual partnership every year. Each year, a resident organization has the opportunity to present itself and its topics in a series of public events, which are supported by the city with extensive services.

The City of Bonn refers to the respective partnership in the footer of its e-mails. And large info screens at the main railway station and the free stampers also advertise the city’s partnership organization and enhance visibility in the cityscape.

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