A continuing partnership between RSPO and CRB in India to help strengthen the demand for sustainable palm oil supply chains further. The overall goal of this partnership is to Raise Awareness on Sustainable Palm Oil in the Indian Market post Covid 19.
- Strengthen Business engagement
- Initiate engagement with Financial Institutions
- Facilitate Policy & Strategic Engagement
- Strengthening Multi-stakeholder Collaboration (I-SPOC)
Palm oil is well established as an essential and ubiquitous ingredient in many FMCG products, such as biscuits, chips, cosmetics and personal care items. However, given its high demand, versatile nature and use across products, questions have often been raised about its sourcing, trade and consumption.
This Factsheet provides an overview of CRB’s initiatives and activities in the field of Sustainable Palm Oil For India and the way forward.
- Focusing on supply chain actors and large Indian FMCG/retailers and supporting them in transitioning towards sustainable palm oil
- Building awareness and understanding about the importance of deforestation free commodity chains in climate finance
- Conveying lessons/evidence to key policy makers and public agencies. Sharing experiences at relevant national and international platforms
- Increasing membership, building members’ capacity, improving public awareness and visibility
- Business Engagement – Engaging with about 25 business stakeholders on the need to adopt sustainable palm oil
- Engagement with Financial Institutions- Engaging with financial institutions and organising two workshops to build awareness of financial sector practitioners and experts
- Policy & Strategic Engagement- Communicating key policy pointers pertaining to sustainable palm oil to Ministries/public agencies and to international platforms about the experience in India
- Strengthening I-SPOC- Supporting and strengthening the Secretariat to help raise the ambition of the coalition
Sustainability Ambassadors (2022-23)
Taking forward the work that already has been undertaken as part of this partnership, CRB had proposed the following areas for 2022-23 period:
- a) IVPA – CRB – RSPO Partnership
- b) Strengthen I-SPOC:
- Coordination, Institutional and Governance systems
- Strategic Outreach to Industry Actors
- Engagement with Ecosystem Actors
– Relevant Policymakers
– Financial Institutions
- c) Partnership for CRB 9th Annual Sustainability Conference (ISS 2022)
- a) IVPA – CRB – RSPO Partnership
CRB and RSPO has established a partnership with the Indian Vegetable Oil Producers Association (IVPA) to conceptualise and develop a first industry-led Sustainable Palm Oil international conference, referred to as SPINS 2023. As part of the current partnership, CRB and RSPO will work with IVPA to conceptualise the 2023 edition of this event, particularly in terms of the overall objective; agenda; speakers; dignitaries and communication. It is estimated that SPINS 2023 will be held in July or August 2023. The preparatory work will also include finalising the date and venue of the event and undertake social media outreach.
- b) Strengthen I-SPOC
1) Coordination, Institutional and Governance systems
CRB acts as the Secretariat of I-SPOC and will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the coalition, among others in terms of:
- Coordinating and organising various meetings of the coalition including:
- Monthly Founders Meetings;
- Steering Committee Meetings (3 per year) and
- Members’ Meetings (3 per year)
- Organising two Capacity Building events and two Open Days (for Members and Observers of I-SPOC) • Supporting the 3 Working Group chairs and co-chairs as needed
- Developing three blogs by experts (members/Steering Committee/Founders) or others
- Augmenting the visibility of the coalition through the social media
- Share posts (up to 50) across all social media handles o Increasing engagement with existing and potential followers (through LinkedIn community and other mediums)
- Growing the number of followers on LinkedIn (over 1000)
- Continuing to strengthen key institutional and governance elements of the coalition, in consultation with the Steering Committee members to enhance the ability of the coalition to meet the needs and aspirations of the members and other key stakeholders
Strategic Outreach to Industry Actors
CRB will ensure strategic and targeted outreach by I-SPOC to various industry actors (up to 20) and related stakeholders (up to 25) thereby building the visibility of the coalition in India and beyond. In addition to engaging one to one, CRB will also ensure that I-SPOC’s visibility is built with the wider FMCG industry, through I-SPOC’s representation in important industry events/meetings (participate in up to 4 such events/meetings over the course of this partnership) and sharing experience of the coalition.
Engagement with Ecosystem Actors
- In this year of the partnership, CRB an RSPO will engage specifically with two important ecosystem actors: Policymakers and Financial institutions (building on the work done in the current partnership). An overview of activities with these two sets of actors is provided in this section.
- Relevant Policymakers In 2021-22, CRB developed five Policy Input Note (PIN) on the following topics
- Domestic Production and its impact on Climate and Biodiversity Conservation
- Labour and Human Rights – Social impact on Domestic Production
- Sustainable Public Procurement strategies for Palm Oil use by PSUs in India
- Role of Finance in promoting Uptake of Sustainable Palm Oil in India
- Ensuring Sustainability Standards in Palm Oil- The potential of India’s bilateral and regional trade negotiations
Based on these PINs, CRB will:
- identify relevant actors in Government of India (GoI) and initiate discussions on these topics with 3-4 different Ministries/Agencies of GoI.
- organize 2 interactions with relevant industry actors, either one to one or in small groups
- Financial Institutions In 2021-22, CRB developed a Practitioner’s Guide: Mitigating Potential Risks in Financing Agro-Commodities in India with special reference to Palm Oil. In the proposed partnership CRB will:
- Disseminate the Practitioners Guide to relevant financial sector actors (up to 30)
- Organize 2 meetings to discuss and plan application of the Practitioners Guide with sector stakeholders (like NABARD, ADB, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, SBI Mutual Funds amongst others)
- Continue engaging with financial institutions through the Financial Institutions Working Group of I-SPOC and recruit up to 5 members from FIs as I-SPOC members
Partnership for ISS 2022
RSPO was the ‘Lead Partner’ at the CRB 2022 annual sustainability conference – India and Sustainability Standards 2022 (ISS 2022) that was held 2nd to 4th November 2022 in Delhi. RSPO CEO was invited to speak on the Inaugural Day of the event. A session was organised specifically on addressing sustainable palm oil – uptake and opportunities in India, comprising national and international experts. RSPO received branding and positioning as a Lead Partner at this event.
Sustainability Ambassadors (2021-22)
CRB – RSPO partnership for 2021-22 focussed on the following areas:
- Business engagement: As part of the project CRB
- interacted with some of the less active RSPO members in India (about 15), and tried to bring them up to speed on the topic, with an aim to make them I-SPOC members
- engaged with processors/refiners including less active RSPO members to build awareness and understand capacity building needs
- continued to interact closely with I-SPOC business members and encourage/guide
them to become RSPO members.
- Engagement with Financial Institutions: A study undertaken as part of the 2020 partnership by CRB on the role of financial institutions in promoting sustainable palm oil in India highlighted certain key strategies to enable greater attention among the financial institutions (banks and investors) on the subject. In 2021, CRB engaged with financial institutions but also some key sector actors and experts with these findings.
CRB organized Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with selected representatives of financial institutions and sector experts to build their awareness on the subject and linkage between sustainable palm oil and climate change, biodiversity conservation.
CRB prepared a practitioner’s guide on sustainable finance for the oil palm sector, which will link deforestation free commodity chain with biodiversity conservation and climate finance.
- Policy & Strategic Engagement: CRB developed five Policy Input Notes (PINs). These notes recommend key policy pointers to the respective Ministries/public agencies. CRB also highlighted the importance of sustainable palm oil and experience with I-SPOC at international events/initiatives on palm oil (e.g., NASPON, SASPO, RSPO RT, GLOBEOIL, RLS, etc.)
Strengthening Multi-stakeholder Collaboration (I-SPOC)
- Over the course of this partnership, increase the membership of I-SPOC
- Acting as the Secretariat of the Coalition, CRB facilitated and contributed towards capacity building of supply chain actors in India
- CRB coordinated and organise two I-SPOC Members Meeting over the course of this partnership
- Engagements with various key stakeholders (public agencies, financial institutions, international organisations, researchers, CSOs) continued and helped in building wider stakeholder awareness on the subject
- CRB continued to build visibility and public awareness through its social media channels and that of I-SPOC’s (5-7 posts per month)
- Capacity building on technical issues, stakeholder awareness and public awareness/visibility was highlighted as important areas from the I-SPOC needs assessment exercise (at least 2 capacity building activities per year)
Sustainability Ambassadors (2020-21)
In addition to further consolidating activities already undertaken by the two organisations (2018-20), the following activities will be undertaken as part of the current partnership (2020-21):
- Engagement with Businesses for Commitment and Actions on Sustainable Palm Oil (Sustainability Ambassadors) :
Looking at the usage of palm oil by the FMCG sector, it is important to further intensify engagement with relevant businesses/organisations/industryassociations/aggregators along the supply chain/value chain.During the course of the project in 2020-21, CRB will identify and engage with organizations/ ambassadors from five constituencies, which are businesses, NGOs, Industry Associations, Banks and Financial Institutions and Public Sector Enterprises
- Offering learning and sharing opportunities through the ‘Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition for India’ platform
(I-SPOC, www.indiaspoc.org). CRB as the secretariat for I-SPOC, in partnership with RSPO will undertake the following activities in 2020-21:
- Membership drive:
CRB will work towards increasing the membership of I-SPOC
- Enhancing Visibility:
To increase I-SPOC visibility, CRB will publish knowledge and outreach materials (articles, interviews, blog, vlog, news stories, etc.) through online portals and social media
- External Financial Support:
CRB will identify opportunities, develop and submit proposals for funding or grant over the course of the project year
- Administration & Network Management:
As the Secretariat, CRB will work towards effectively supporting activities of the coalition along with managing the proper functioning of the website
- Membership drive:
- Design and delivery of awareness and capacity building on the subject :
It is seen that there is a lack of information (and reference material) amongst various stakeholders regarding sustainable palm oil – its advantages and uptake, especially in the context/perspective of India. Compounding this issue is the widespread misinformation around the use of palm oil.
As part of the project, CRB will design and develop two modules on sustainable palm oil for variousstakeholders across the palm oil value chain.These modules will be created to generate awareness on sustainable palm oil, its production and consumption (value chain analysis), impact on the environment and other sustainable development goals (SDGs) – and its influence on demand and supply cycle
- Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue for India during CRB 7th Annual Conference – India and Sustainability Standards (ISS 2020):
The seventh edition of CRB Annual Sustainability Conference(India and Sustainability Standards, www.sustainabilitystandards.in) will be organized virtually from 28- 30 October 2020. RSPO to host a session on Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue for India on 29 October 2020
Sustainability Ambassadors (2019-20)
Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) continued its partnership with Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in India and thrived to promote uptake of certified sustainable palm oil across industries and building awareness across organisations. In addition to the few activities from 2018, the year 2019 saw the following activities being undertaken in continuation of this ongoing partnership. CRB and RSPOagreed to undertake these activities to bolster this partnership for achieving the above-mentioned goal.
In addition to further consolidating activities already being undertaken by the two organisations, the partnership between 2019-20 identified these additional activities:
- Engagement with Sustainability Ambassadors (industry and organisations)
The aim of these interactions were to understand the nature and volume of use of palm oil;awareness/understanding (including technical elements) of certified sustainable palm oil (specifically RSPO); understand challenges in uptake/use of palm oil and to identify possible pathways for businesses to initiate strategic thinking and movement
- Media Engagement
Media plays a critical role in creating awareness and sensitizing businesses, consumers and other stakeholders about ‘businesses with purpose’ and promoting its uptake.Recognizing the importance of media, a webinar was organized on the theme “Businesseswith Purpose Future-Proofing Businesses in a Post COVID-19 World” by CRB, RSPO andWWF-India on 16th April 2020. The Webinar aimed to reflect on the critical need for sustainable growth, adoption of an inclusive, economic, social and environmental sustainability model for future-proofing businesses post the pandemic along with raise awareness about sustainable consumption and production (SDG12) in India and initiate the necessary call to action
- Youth Fellowship for Sustainable Palm (Y4S)
CRB in consultation with RSPOdesigned and conceptualized a Youth Fellowship forSustainable Palm Oil (YfS).The objective of this programme rolled out in early 2020 has been to offer one of its kind opportunities to youth to take charge by engaging and shaping the sustainability/SDG agenda based on their own ideas and actions. The certificate fellowship pursues to engage youth specifically on SDG 12 (responsible production and consumption) and SDG 13 (climateaction). 4 candidates have been shortlisted as fellows. They are now being mentored by sustainability practitioners on theirideas/actions relating them specifically to SDG12 and SDG13
- Multi stakeholder Awareness and Dialogues RSPO was the lead partner for CRB’s 6th Annual Conference onSustainability – India Sustainability Standard 2019 which was organized in Delhi fromNovember 20-22, 2019. RSPO also led two sessions on the second day of the conference which were
- Market Transformation towards Sustainable Palm Oil in India, a plenary session comprising CEOs and COOs of 5 major FMCGs and Industries. Mr. Darrel Webber,Ex- CEO, RSPO was a panellist in this session
- Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue in India which also convened I-SPOC ( http://www.indiaspoc.org/ ) members (SecondMembers Meeting)together with other industry stakeholders to highlight key activities under three thematic areas – government policy; supply chain and end consumer issues
Sustainability Ambassadors (2018-19)
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) came together in mid-2018 through a partnership to examine the challenges/opportunities for uptake of sustainable palm oil in India and to raise the ante on the need and benefits from a transition towards the same. It was evident from the research undertaken earlier by CRB and others on the subject, that focusing on the FMCG sector (given its influence on the supply chain) could help create the demand for sustainable palm oil.
Over the course of the project, CRB focused on identifying ‘sustainability ambassadors’ among FMCG companies in India. This was done through continuous engagement with them to understand the challenges to/opportunities from better uptake of sustainable palm oil. Simultaneously, CRB and RSPO also worked on creating an ‘India story’ on sustainable palm oil by using social and traditional media to start enhancing the visibility and wider understanding on the subject.
By the end of the project timeline, CRB had managed to do the following :
- Created the ‘India story’ on Responsible shopping (awareness among consumers about products using certified sustainable palm oil)
- Enhanced visibility through Social Media to highlight the need/benefits from transition towards sustainable palm in India
- Development and dissemination of IEC related to the ‘India story’ highlighting Responsible shopping
- Initiated discussions, interactions and meetings with journalists from both Hindi and English press for engaging on the subject of sustainable palm oil
- Created Champions: Sustainability Ambassadors
For further information, please contact
Ms. Bhavya Sharma
Phone +91 (11) 41088853
Mr. Rijit Sengupta
Chief Executive Officer
Phone +91 (11) 41088853