The Indian arm of consumer packaged goods giant, Unilever, has stepped up its efforts in sustainable palm use. Hindustan Unilever is one of the main players in India’s market to obtain Green Palm certification for its edible palm oil.
Nitin Paranjpe, CEO and managing director of HUL, said that the company is committed to working with like-minded companies and non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) to influence the sourcing of CSPO into India.
“There is a clear linkage between deforestation and climate change, therefore companies can play an important role by adopting sustainable practices,” Paranjpe said, and “NGO’s play an important role by engaging with the companies that source palm oil and thereby secure commitment.”
“We need to raise the level of consciousness regarding the direct link of unsustainable palm oil practices and deforestation,” he added.
India – the target
India, along with China, has been a target market for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in its plight to push the take-up of CSPO as, “the two markets are the largest global importers of palm oil,” Darrel Webber, secretary general for RSPO told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“India is showing signs that certified sustainable palm oil is welcome. This will have ripple effects across the globe for both supply and demand," Webber said. India will set a benchmark for other global markets to follow suit, he added.
He noted that RSPO is committed to continuing the momentum of engagement and collaboration with the government of India and directly with the industry through outreach and advocacy work across the country.
Active industry connections needed
Paranjpe said that there is an “urgent need to create more forums to bring Indian refiners and traders together to discuss how we can actively promote the import of sustainably produced palm oil into India.”
Key palm oil buyers in the market, Godrej Industries, VVF and Kamani, all RSPO members, have voiced their intent to support the drive for wider certified sustainable palm oil use throughout India in the near future.
Nadir Godrej, managing director of Godrej Industries, said that there is a joint responsibility to save the environment. “At Godrej Industries we plan to buy green palm certificates and Godrej Agrovet is also studying the procedures for certifying domestic production of palm oil.”
Global food manufacturing giant, Cargill, with its Indian footprint, has committed to ensure palm oil products supplied from India are certified by 2020.