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RSPO continued its support of youth events in India last month as the sustainability partner for the 11th Young India Challenge (YIC), held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India from 22-23 February. The YIC is one of the biggest platforms for youth action for sustainability in India, promoting an important message about leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
At the event, RSPO India Representative, Kamal Prakash Seth, delivered a keynote address to 125 selected youth representatives from more than 40 Indian cities. The audience pledged to be ‘Sustainability Warriors’ by adopting a more sustainable approach to their daily habits while also calling on their favourite brands to implement sustainable sourcing policies.
RSPO also organised a Youth For Sustainability (YfS) workshop with climate change communications expert, Ruhie Kumar, addressing the youth. During this session, the participants learned about Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and SDG 13 (Climate Action), and how to use the YfS toolkit to drive online and offline initiatives, such as sustainable palm oil campaigns.
A press conference was held later in the day where 13 media representatives, comprising local and regional newspapers and television networks were given greater insight into the youth led initiatives in India.
The YfS partners also announced the launch of six YfS clubs across various university campuses in Odisha, where 50 volunteers have already joined the clubs so far. Plans are now in place to expand the YfS clubs in Delhi and Mumbai in the coming months.
The lead volunteer coordinator for the YfS clubs, Punyasloka Panda, said: “My city has seen the effects of the climate crisis first-hand and we now need to find collaborative solutions. Through the YfS events and workshops we have reached 550 people! Activities of the clubs include auditing restaurants and canteens for sustainable sourcing; not using single-use plastic; using sustainable palm oil; cleaning drives in stadiums, beaches, and college campuses; and using art, culture and technology to create awareness about the climate crisis.”
Currently, organisations like the Climate Reality Project, UN Live, The Climate Agenda, ‘I Live Simply’, RSPO, Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), Human Circle, and other civil society organisations are leading the YfS initiatives in India. CRB has also launched a ‘Youth for Sustainable Palm Oil’ fellowship to provide mentorship and knowledge support.
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