India is the world’s largest importer of palm oil (As per the Ministry of Commerce database, the quantity of palm oil imported in 2019 was 9.75 Million tonnes; valued at 5422 Million USD . A substantial proportion of the items of daily use include biscuits, bread, chips, chocolates, cosmetics, detergents, toothpaste, soap – all of which contain palm oil in varying volumes. Palm oil is well established as an essential and versatile ingredient in these products. Expansion of palm oil production and trade in a sustainable manner has received considerable global attention, due to its impact on rainforests in South East Asian countries – like Indonesia and Malaysia.
Engaging various actors to promote sustainability along the supply chain has been considered as an effective tool – often deployed by global businesses and international organisations. The application of this model in the palm oil supply chain has been discussed at length – especially involving consumer markets like India and China. Influence of consumer market like India in contributing towards production, sourcing, trading and eventually consumption of certified sustainable palm oil – was the centre piece of the CRB and RSPO partnership.
The current situation calls for urgent action to rebalance our relationship with nature and develop an effective sustainable development trajectory. There is a need to draw lessons from the current situation and look at re-designing consumption and production patterns that will help in achieving long-term sustainability targets and aligning them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Furthermore, many business policies and strategies can be reconfigured to device a method for sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, encourage adoption of sustainable practices and disclosures thereby advocating sustainable lifestyles in harmony with nature. There is need to build back a more resilient economy that is founded on the principles of sustainable and inclusive growth.