RSPO hosted the first edition of the Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue (SPOD) in India on 21 November at the India and Sustainability Standards 2019 event, organised by Centre for Responsible Business (CRB). With 700 attendees, more than 40 partner organisations and over 100 speakers, the conference was a melting pot for the exchange of diverse multi-stakeholder perspectives and ideas from thought leaders, experts, practitioners and policy makers on business sustainability.
SPOD-India comprised of four segments: CEOs panel for Shared Responsibility for Sustainable Palm Oil, ‘Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition for India (I-SPOC)’ meeting, Multi-stakeholder consultation for ‘Independent Smallholder Standard 2019’ and ‘Youth for Sustainability’ workshop.
RSPO CEO, Datuk Darrel Webber, RSPO India representative, Kamal Prakash Seth, and RSPO Smallholder Programme Head, Ashwin Selvaraj shared their views on market transformation through keynote speeches, panel discussions, consultation meetings and media interviews. The CEOs/CXOs from AAK Kamani, Rabobank, RSPO and Sime Darby participated during the panel discussion. The I-SPOC Steering Committee, comprising of AAK Kamani, CRB, IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative, Rainforest Alliance, RSPO and WWF, chaired the bi-annual meeting of I-SPOC to discuss the roadmap for the three working groups of the coalition – end users, supply chain and government policy.
Integrating sustainability into global and local value chains is increasingly being understood as necessary, for equitable and inclusive growth and the realisation of shared value creation. SPOD-India brought together key national and international stakeholders, Indian and international policy actors, government agencies, standard setters, large and small businesses, industry associations, civil society, academia, and media agencies together to collaborate on promoting sustainability.
Rijit Sengupta, CEO, Centre for Responsible Business said, “In the sixth edition of ISS, our endeavour is to continue to work towards pushing and propelling the agenda of sustainable business by engaging with multiple stakeholders through an evidence-based approach to understand and deliberate on the opportunities and challenges of promoting sustainable business on a variety of thematic and sector specific issues on sustainability. Some of the focus areas of the event this year are: circular economy, business and human rights, voluntary sustainability standards, MSMEs and sustainability, private sectors and SDGs.”
The Chief guest for this year's event was Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Government of India. Some of the featured speakers included; Mr. Suresh Prabhu – Former Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation; Prof. Jefferey Sachs – Thought Leader & Former Director- The Earth Institute at Columbia; Datuk Darrel Webber – Chief Executive Officer, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); Shoko Noda – Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Datuk Darrel Webber added, “Though the youth can play a crucial role to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degree celsius, they cannot be expected to solve the problem of the climate emergency on their own. By 2030, when youth will be in positions of power, they will not be able to solve it as it would be too late by then. Therefore solving this crisis is the primary responsibility of people from my generation and the youth are asking us – by when are you going to do it?”
Taking this inspiration, two representatives from the ‘Young India Challenge’ alumni community read out the ‘Indian youth voice for sustainability’, highlighting the need for businesses to step up and fulfill or make their commitment to only purchase sustainable palm oil for their products.