Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition
The Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition for India (I-SPOC) was founded by Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), World Wide Fund for Nature India (WWF India), Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Rainforest Alliance (RA). The coalition was launched in September 2018 and is envisaged as a business-led multi stakeholder initiative with the goal of promoting sustainable consumption, import, and trade of palm oil and its derivatives along the supply chain. I-SPOC, through industry collaboration, aims to create broader awareness about and uptake of sustainability principles and practices across the supply chain.
To know more about the coalition, please click here.
As part of the 2022-23 partnership, CRB undertook the following activities:
- Coordination, Institutional and Governance systems: CRB acts as the Secretariat of I-SPOC and was responsible for coordinating the activities including facilitating monthly Founders meeting, bi-annual members meetings, bi-annual steering committee meetings, coordination with the Working Groups, Facilitating Capacity Building and Open Day workshops and augmenting the visibility of the coalition through the social media
Click here to read the documents related to I-SPOC activities.
- Strategic Outreach to Industry Actors: CRB ensured strategic and targeted outreach by I-SPOC to various industry actors and related stakeholders thereby building the visibility of the coalition in India and beyond. In addition to engaging one to one, CRB also ensured ensure that I-SPOC’s visibility is built with the wider FMCG industry, through I-SPOC’s representation in important industry events/meetings and sharing experience of the coalition
- Engagement with Ecosystem Actors: In 2022-23, CRB and RSPO engaged specifically with two important ecosystem actors: Policymakers and Financial Institutions.
- 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
- Policymakers: In 2021-22, CRB developed five Policy Input Note (PIN) on the following topics:
Under the 2022-23 partnership, CRB finalized PINs on Domestic Production and its impact on Climate and Biodiversity Conservation and Role of Finance in promoting uptake of Sustainable Palm Oil in India.
- 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 partnership 2022-23 CRB; disseminated the Practitioners Guide to relevant financial sector actors and organized meeting/capacity building workshop with relevant stakeholders to discuss and plan application of the Practitioners Guide.
2. Partnership for ISS 2022: RSPO was a ‘Lead Partner’ at the CRB 2022 annual sustainability conference – India and Sustainability Standards 2022 (ISS 2022) which was held from 2nd to 4th November 2022 in Delhi. session: RSPO organized a session on Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue (SPOD-India) at ISS in 2022. The session aimed to highlight the leadership role that the Indian Industry can play in mainstreaming the trade of sustainable palm oil along with identifying pathways for integration of sustainability principles in the cultivation of oil palm in India. The session also looked at the role that ecosystem actors (such as financial institutions) play in supporting the transition toward uptake of sustainable palm oil.
Click here to read Annual Report of 2022-23 partnership
As part of 2021-22 partnership, CRB looked at the following areas:
- Business Engagement: As part of the project, CRB interacted with less active RSPO members and bought them to speed on the topic with an aim to make them I-SPOC members. CRB also engaged with processors/refiners in 2021 including less active RSPO members to build awareness and understand capacity building needs. Lastly, CRB 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. As part of 2021-22 partnership, CRB engaged with financial institutions but also some key sector actors and experts with the findings. CRB also organized two workshops with select 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 also created 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 Engagements: CRB’s engagement with the Ministries was based on specific Policy Input Notes which when developed would 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. CRB also shared experiences and highlighted visibility of the project at international platforms that CRB is part of including International Trade Centre (Trade for Sustainable Development), One Planet Network (Consumer Information Programme), UNEP and International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
- Strengthen 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 organized two I-SPOC Members Meeting over the course of this partnership. CRB engaged with various key stakeholders (public agencies, financial institutions, international organisations, researchers, CSOs) to continue and help in building wider stakeholder awareness on the subject. The organization also continued to build visibility and public awareness through its social media channels and that of I-SPOC’s and lastly, CRB worked on Capacity building on technical issues, stakeholder awareness and public awareness/visibility
- Engagement with Businesses for Commitment and Actions on Sustainable Palm Oil (Sustainability Ambassadors): As part of the project in 2019-20, CRB has engaged and collaborated with FMCG companies and other network players with an aim to support them in the uptake of sustainable palm oil in India. Looking at the usage of palm oil by the FMCG sector, it was seen that it is important to further intensify engagement with relevant businesses/organisations/industry associations/aggregators along the supply chain/value chain. During the course of the partnership, CRB targeted stakeholders including Businesses, NGOs, Industry Associations, Public Sector Enterprises, Banks and Financial Institutions.
- Offering learning and sharing opportunities through I-SPOC platform: CRB as the secretariat for I-SPOC, in partnership with RSPO worked for increasing I-SPOC membership and visibility. CRB engaged with professionals/organisations and published knowledge and outreach materials over the year both on online and conventional formats. Furthermore, CRB has been managing the I-SPOC website that will serve as a knowledge repository on sustainable palm oil and an online platform for stakeholders (particularly) businesses to network and collaborate. With guidance/support from RSPO and other members, CRB identified a few funding or grant opportunities
- Design and delivery of awareness and capacity building on the subject: As part of the project, CRB designed and developed 2 modules on sustainable palm oil for a few target stakeholders. Each of the module looked at different set of stakeholders.
- Partnership for ISS 2020: RSPO hosted a Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue for India (SPOD) duringCRB 7th Annual Conference – India and Sustainability Standards (ISS 2020) The session highlighted the following objectives:
- Highlighting the perspectives of Industry leaders on sustainable palm oil – advantages and uptake
- Recognizing specific policy pointers to engage with relevant organizations
- Creating awareness on sustainable palm oil
- Addressing the problem of deforestation in the palm oil supply chain in South East Asian countries
Click here to read Annual Report of 2020-21 partnership
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 RSPO agreed 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 was 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 “Businesses with Purpose Future-Proofing Businesses in a Post COVID-19 World” by CRB, RSPO and WWF-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 posts 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 RSPO designed and conceptualized a Youth Fellowship for Sustainable 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 (climate action). 4 candidates have been shortlisted as fellows. They are now being mentored by sustainability practitioners on their ideas/actions relating them specifically to SDG12 and SDG13
- Multi stakeholder Awareness and Dialogues: RSPO was the lead partner for CRB’s 6th Annual Conference on Sustainability – India Sustainability Standard 2019 which was organized in Delhi from November 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 panelist in this session
- Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue in India which also convened I-SPOC (http://www.indiaspoc.org/) members (Second Members Meeting) together with other industry stakeholders to highlight key activities under three thematic areas – government policy; supply chain and end consumer issues
Click here to read Annual Report of 2019-20 partnership
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
Click here to read Annual Report of 2018-19 partnership
For further information, please contact
Ms. Bhavya Sharma
Senior Programme Officer
Phone +91 (11) 41088853