CRB has been engaging with VSS in India broadly in three ways, which stem from CRB's understanding about the need for better integration of VSS to improve sustainable business performance in India
Sustainability Ambassadors on Palm Oil
Since June 2019, Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) has been working in partnership with Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) on promoting awareness about the need and opportunities for greater uptake of sustainable palm oil along the supply chain. Over the course of the project, CRB has worked on the following aspects:
Fostering industry stewardship for supporting uptake of sustainable palm oil in India. The objective has been to engage and collaborate with FMCG companies (non RSPO partners) and other ecosystem players (including NGOs, Associations and international organizations) with an aim to create a framework for supporting the uptake of sustainable palm oil in India
Creating opportunities for engaging media, media organizations and journalists over the period to improve their understanding on the issues and create broader awareness on the need and benefits towards sustainable palm
Engaging with youth on sustainable consumption practices to increase demand for FMCG products using sustainable sources of palm oil. A Youth Fellowship Programme is designed to identify and mentor/coach post-graduate students and young professionals in India on sustainable consumption and production/ sustainable lifestyles (SDG 12) using Palm Oil as a case
Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition for India (I-SPOC)
I-SPOC is a business led multi-stakeholder initiative created with the goal of promoting consumption, import and trade of sustainable palm oil and its derivatives along the supply chain. The Coalition through industry collaboration aims to create broader awareness on sustainability issues within industry and among consumers, facilitate multi sector industrial dialogue on sustainable palm oil uptake, build and grow sustainable trade partnerships through links with similar platforms and encourage engagement in policy dialogue for a supportive policy environment and regulation. The Coalition was conceived by four organizations; Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), World Wide Fund for Nature India (WWF-India), Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Rainforest Alliance (RA) and was formally launched in September 2018.
Read more about the initiative here.
Interaction between VSS Standards Setters and Indian Stakeholders
CRB Annual Sustainability Conference (India and Sustainability Standards, www.sustainabilitystandards.in) offers a platform for international standards setting organisations/professionals working on VSS and other aspects of Sustainable/Responsible Business to interact with Indian stakeholders, across various sectors/thematic areas. Over the 5-plus years of implementing the annual Conference, CRB has been able to facilitate a multi-stakeholder led discourse, leading to certain actions on the ground.
Partnership with VSS Organisations in India
In order to improve awareness and effective uptake of VSS among Indian industry and other users, CRB has been partnering with various VSS in India. Some examples in recent times include
Green Electronics Council (GEC) - A partnership project to develop a set of draft Criteria for end of life management of electronic waste in India, based on ground level research, analysis and discussions with key stakeholders.
Rainforest Alliance A partnership to understand the triggers for market transformation towards sustainable palm oil in India.
Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) - A partnership to engage Indian Industry leaders and champions, to support the process of transformation towards sustainable palm oil in India. It also involves public outreach and awareness raising.
Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI) - A partnership for developing a multi-stakeholder platform to support development of sustainable and inclusive Mica supply chain in the State of Jharkhand in India.
Collaboration among VSS in India
Given the multiplicity of VSS in the market, the users are often confused about the applicability of VSS. Experts at the international level have been calling for collaboration among VSS. CRB has taken this initiative since Jan 2019 to conduct periodic discussions involving VSS organisations (once a quarter) for them to better acquaint with the experience (domain) of each other and identify areas of common interest and challenge. This initiative is referred to as ‘Walking Together with VSS in India’, and aims to help VSS organisations get better clarity about domains of expertise of each other and explore possible collaborative initiatives.