Restoring Predictability in a World-wide Commodity Agreement

The Negotiating Challenge

The world’s largest producer of a certain commodity had negotiated a marketing agreement with a major trading house for 95% of its production.

  • ‍The managers of the trading house believed their directors had made over-generous concessions to the producer
  • ‍They vowed to recoup these through day to day bargaining over the term of the first five-year agreement
  • ‍The discovery of this strategy destroyed trust between the two parties
  • It looked as if it could destroy the possibility of a second five-year agreement.

How ENS Helped

Our advisers were called in by the producer company. The content of the renegotiations was complex and spread over eighteen months. There was intense scrutiny from both the industry and governments. We were called upon to:

  • ‍Give process advice
  • ‍Check the quality of preparation by the negotiating team
  • Facilitate team rehearsals.


We were closely involved with the negotiations and the development of the producer’s strategy. We provided coaching in different parts of the world on demand, conducting rehearsals and simulations. As a result:

  • We were able to lift the skill level of individuals in the client teams (one for preparation, one for conduct)
  • We also made recommendations for the resolution of disagreement during the course of the agreement if renewed. These were written into the final document
  • The second agreement was signed to the benefit of both parties
  • Our services were retained again in the lead up to a third and current five-year agreement.

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