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Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it

This year’s wedding season has been action-packed with many people opting for Sustainable Practices in their wedding ceremonies. One such ceremony was of our very own Young India Challenge Alumna Swati Khurana. Being a teacher and a Teach For India fellow herself, Swati attended the 8th Young India Challenge at IIT Delhi in 2017. Since then it’s been no looking back for her when it comes to spreading the message of Sustainable Development and Sustainable Living.

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Swati and her team at the 8th Young India Challenge in 2017

Swati embarked on a new journey in her life as she got married in October this year and her wedding was a perfect example of being the trailblazer and leading the charge of sustainable practices. The Mehendi Ceremony was organised in a way that it also educated the guests on how they can adopt practices that do not harm mother earth.

 

They started off with something as simple as going with paperless invitations and sending out E-Invitations to all the guests. The next step was to use biodegradable cutlery for food, steel glasses for serving water and non-plastic chairs for seating.

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At these ceremonies, we usually see that a lot of food goes to waste. But for her Mehendi ceremony, she chose to have a limited menu and all the leftover food was packed and distributed to avoid any food wastage. 

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Swati (center) with her students who prepared posters to spread awareness of climate change, food wastage etc.

All the decorations were re-usable and guests were gifted with planters. Some of her students also prepared posters to spread awareness among the guests about issues like climate change, food wastage etc.

 

Swati said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

She believes in taking small steps to spread a message of sustainability by actions and to show empathy towards mother Earth. 

Apply now for the 11th Young India Challenge, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

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Announcement: Application for the 11th Young India Challenge is Now Open!

YIC 10th UN SDGs

Do you want to follow your passion and make a career around it? Applications are now open for the 11th Young India Challenge (YIC) at Bhubaneswar (Odisha), on 22-23 February 2020.

YIC is created and organised by Human Circle – a social enterprise dedicated to inspire, enable and connect young people to follow their passion and to contribute towards sustainable development goals.

Click here to apply for YIC 2020 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. 

Steve Jobs (Co-founder, Apple Inc) once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Young India Challenge (YIC) is a two-day invite only national level event for 300+ participants from 50+ cities across India, selected from approximately 3000 applications. To help participants solve the challenge we invite 40+ Mentors and Speakers

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Day 1 of YIC has lots of inspiring speaker sessions. There is a workshop to hack your brain to turn your passion into a career. On Day 2, the delegates are given the challenge and they work in a team of ten people to solve the challenge. These are real global and national challenges related to 2 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, and Goal 13: Climate Action. The event finishes with an award function and certificate distribution.

Previous Partners/Mentors/Speakers from:KPMG, GE, Boston Consulting Group, NDTV, Startup Weekend Powered by Google, Hindustan Unilever, The Global Shapers Community (born out of the World Economic Forum), World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-India), The Climate Reality Project India (Founded by Ex US Vice President Al Gore), Center for Responsible Business, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Techstars, LoveDoctor, SHEROES, Ashoka Youth Venture, Global Action on Poverty, AIESEC, Talerang, BitGiving, Cornitos, SaveLife Foundation, Sarvam Foundation, CoWorkIn, I Impact India, DU Beat, SRCC, IIT Delhi and many more.

Young India Challenge (Bhubaneswar) – 22nd and 23rd February 2020

Click here to apply for YIC 2020 in Bhubaneswar

Watch Videos of Previous YICs in Delhi and Mumbai

Limited spots available!

Prize for the winning teams: winning teams will be awarded with a seed funding of INR 1,00,000 each to execute the solutions for the challenge, along with a 6-month mentorship program.

  • A certificate of excellence will be provided to you as a delegate for Young India Challenge 2020, recognising you amongst the top youth across many cities and universities in India.The #DoWhatYouLove movement has spread across the country and we are looking to organise an amazing conference & a ‘YIC Awards Function’ to make it even bigger.

You could help your friends by letting them know about this opportunity!

Any student, recent graduate, young professional or entrepreneur from any city can apply. YIC is a Human Circle creation for young people to explore and follow their passion with amazing students, entrepreneurs, social change makers, artists, authors and business people. This is the best place to be if you want to create a life by your choice and not what the world tells you.

FB Young India Challenge 10th Apply Now (2)

Check out the agenda, speakers, partners and all that happened during the first 10 YICs here www.youngindiachallenge.com

  • Check out the videos of what happened at Young India Challenge at IIT Delhi, SRCC here
  • Check out all the YIC updates here

Are you ready to experience two of the most exciting days of your life?! 🙂

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Indian Youth Voice for Sustainability at the Young India Challenge Reunion: “We want a future full of hope not dismay”

23rd November, New Delhi: Fifty young people from across the country from the Young India Challenge community  gathered in New Delhi for a bi-annual reunion to create an action roadmap to tackle the climate emergency. The event was co-organised by RSPO, My Mark My City Initiative, AIESEC and Youth for Earth and after a month long intense discussions and productive critical arguments, youth from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds joined hands to co-create their commitment towards a shared responsibility for deforestation and exploitation free products in India and for making sustainable palm oil the norm.

This gathering was a follow up to the ‘10th Young India Challenge’ organized by Human Circle on 12-13 Oct 2019 at IIT Delhi and a ‘Climate Action Roundtable’ organized for the My Mark My City Initiative by the Museum for United Nations -UN Live’ in association with Human Circle in Mumbai. The event saw the participation of  500 selected youth, mentors, speakers and partners from more than 75 cities. The theme of the event was ‘Sustainable Living’ and the focus for the delegates was to find practical solutions for the ‘United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 12 ans 13, namely, Responsible Consumption and Production and Climate Action.

The Indian Youth Delegation stated

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“We represent millions of young people in India. We are now a 1.3 billion people country. More than 50% of our population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. For some this represents a demographic dividend and for others our overpopulation is putting immense pressure on the natural resources like air and water and worsening the climate crisis. We think this is a wake up call for all Indians and that it is time that we consider our ecological footprint not just in India but in other countries as well, which supply essential commodities to us like palm oil, pulp & paper, timber, soy, rubber and many others. We are aware that India is in a way IMPORTING DEFORESTATION through these products. For example, India is the largest consumer of palm oil, 50% of all the products we buy contain palm oil.

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We grew up in an era of extreme change. We have seen our homes once a place of warmth to be surrounded with smog, our air that gives us breath to be coloured in grey haze, our coastline where we have our livelihoods to be receding. In the Himalayan region, we see glaciers melting, temperatures rising above the imaginable and cyclones in Odisha destroying everything in its way. 15 states across India faced devastating floods in 2019.  We have no doubt that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. According to Greta Thunberg, “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about your fairy tales of money and eternal economic growth.” Every drought and every flood is now more severe and more devastating. There is a need to ACT NOW!

The shift towards sustainable palm oil is a win-win situation for all. We believe that, not just us the youth, but all of us here today want to live in a future that is recognisable to us, one with abundant clean air to breathe, thriving forests and wildlife. There is no reason to accept anything less. This is the time for you, people of great power and influence within your circles lead this change. And we, the youth of India will be right behind you

Stop asking us to solve all your problems that you created. Solve them now. A better future is possible, and we will not settle for anything less.

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The Indian Youth Delegation will continue their work on #YouthForSustainability in their respective countries.

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“Time To Act Is Now”: Asian Youth Urge Big Businesses To Make Palm Oil Production Sustainable

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Fifty young people from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand gathered in Bangkok for the inaugural Asian Youth for Sustainable Palm Oil Summit co-organised by RSPO, PM Haze, and GIZ Thailand. After nine hours of intense discussions and productive critical arguments, youth from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds joined hands to co-create commitment towards shared responsibility to make ‘sustainable palm oil’ the norm.

The youth delegation hosted their summit prior to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil conference to highlight the urgency for big businesses to act now. The Asian Youth Delegation stated, “We represent 4 billion people in the region. We grew up in an era of extreme change. We have seen our homes once a place of warmth to be on fire now, our air that gives us breath to be coloured in grey haze and smog, our coastline where we have our livelihoods to be receding. And elsewhere in the world, we see glaciers melting, temperatures rising above the imaginable and typhoons destroying everything in its way. There is a need to act, now.”

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The statement by the Youth Delegation went on to question the effectiveness of our current approaches. “Lifestyle changes can make a difference. But is it really enough? The key to achieving a sustainable future lies in economic transformation. And this economic transformation cannot happen without integrity. We ask of you the businesses, to commit and deliver your environmental promises and to be transparent with your progress. Because it is vital for businesses to change first so that the rest of us can join in the wave of change. This long-term investment will encourage brand loyalty and economic benefit. It will unite consumers and businesses towards a common goal for a sustainable future. There is no time to be ready, we just have to commit and grind through the challenges together,” the statement read.

The Asian youth delegation emphasised that accountability and innovation are key, and as the next generation they will be committing to sustainability themselves but also hold organisations and businesses accountable.

AYSPO RT17 Group

With our numbers and the economics we represent, which constitute more than 50% of the global GDP, we believe that youth today have great power to offer. Our common values, ideas, and energy will be our drive. To support you, the youth of Asia promises you here today that:

– We will integrate sustainability in and beyond our daily lives.
– We will keep ourselves informed of current affairs and effective solutions.
– We will work collaboratively through public platforms, therefore amplifying our impacts.
– We pledge to keep ourselves, businesses, governments, and NGOs accountable across countries for sustainable production and consumption of palm oil,” the statement read.

The delegation went on to state, “The youth have committed to this. And you have no choice but to work together. The shift towards sustainable palm oil is a win-win situation for all. We believe that not just us the youth, but all of us here today want to live in a future that is recognisable to us, one with abundant clean air to breathe, thriving forests and wildlife. There is no reason to accept anything less. This is the time for you, people of great power and influence within your circles lead this change. And we, the youth, the 4 billion in South Asia and Southeast Asia will be right behind you. A better future is possible.”

“The effort by the youths to engage in critical discussions of sustainable palm oil sector is commendable. Engaging with youths has always been part of our advocacy strategy, as we believe that we can grow an effective grassroots movement to increase adoption of sustainable palm oil to prevent transboundary haze in the region.” Benjamin Tay, Executive Director, People’s Movement to Stop Haze

“The action from Asian Youth is so inspiring! They have done a great job to support sustainable consumption. Consumer awareness on sustainable palm oil in Thailand is still low. We, GIZ as a cooperation development agency, commit  here that we together with Thai youth will leverage this awareness.” Kanokwan Saswattecha, Project Manager of Sustainable and Climate-friendly Palm Oil in Thailand, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

“There is a big opportunity for businesses to meet the sustainability expectations of the youth and build trust and brand loyalty through sustainable palm oil sourcing policies and actions. We encourage all the RSPO members to respond to this call. Together we can inspire a generation of people with hope and optimism and co-create a more inclusive world for all. THERE IS NO PLANET B.” Kamal Prakash Seth, Country Head, RSPO India

The Asian Youth Delegation will continue their work on #YouthForSustainability in their respective countries.

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Contentment received by working in the social sector is unmatchable

 

Tushar Singh Bodwal

In the formative years of my career, I have actively engaged with Social Entrepreneurial ventures and NGOs. There is something pristine about working in the social sector; contentment received by success in this arena is unmatched and learning outcomes from failures motivate you to outperform yourself in the future. I’ve had an extensive outlook of this field while working in the head team of multiple organizations.

Inclination to make a career in the social sector came when I went to rural Rajasthan for an internship in the second year of my college (2015). This opportunity was to work under the guidance of first female MBA Sarpanch of India, Ms. Chhavi Rajawat, on diverse issues like governance, sanitation, financial literacy, gender sensitization, education, menstruation, and farming. It made me realize my privilege of having better access to education, healthcare, and social infrastructure. Back then, I used to remarkably undermine my work and efforts, as I couldn’t see the change that we had aimed for, after the completion of my tenure. This notion changed when I received a call 4 months later, after returning back to Delhi from the village. 

The caller was my student, Vishnu, belonging to a lower caste family situated in a hamlet which had unequal access to water and subjected to different forms of discrimination in daily social discourse. His call on 5th September to wish me ‘happy teacher’s day, sir’ gave me more contentment than any contribution I had made in other arenas. It made me realize that we need to cherish each low hanging fruit that we get rid of while working on the long road to sustainably, equitably and inclusively bringing distributive measures in the society. 

Currently, I’ve been working with Centre for Logical Research and Development Studies, an NGO on a panel with several Ministries and Departments of Government of India and various State Governments. During my fieldwork for the National Level Monitoring program of Gram Panchayat Development Plan in eastern Uttar Pradesh, I went to a flood-prone district, Bahraich. I interacted with more than 650 individuals belonging to the District Administration, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Self Help Groups and Village Organizations. The district was tackling challenges centering around healthcare, inter-block connectivity for villagers and meeting the target of Swachh Bharat Mission in the prescribed time. Disaster proneness and challenging terrain is a nightmare for policy implementing agencies. 

In the backdrop of this, an interactive monitoring session left an indelible impression on my mind. The people of Mustafabad Village, along with PRI and District officials, set aside all the inhibitions and actively engaged in participatory self-governance. In a campaign meant for promoting evidence-based and truly inclusive development plans, this village set a benchmark for others on how to formulate and execute their vision in an effective, efficient and responsive manner. Amongst many teachings during my fieldwork, this experience remains peculiarly close to me.

These interactions made me realize that there are several low hanging fruits that we can easily get rid of by promoting youth mobilization. Grassroots level research and promotion of best practices can equip socially suppressed, economically exploited and politically passive communities in ensuring sustainable lifestyles for themselves. Hence, empowering them in the truest sense.

Tushar Singh Bodwal
Delegate, YIC IIT Delhi 2019

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Story of a failing student to framer of an education based NGO

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I was born in a middle class family in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka. Its neither a big city nor a rural place. My high school days; when I look back here, the unpleasant memories dominate over the pleasant ones. Yes, I used to get bright red underline(which means fail) in most of the subjects. 
I used to get insulting words from all the teachers about my performance in  academics. This added to build up shy nature and negative thoughts within me and I was convinced that I was good for nothing. This made me feel more inferior about myself. But luckily I cleared my 10th exams. It enlightened some hope in me! Later I joined PU College in my hometown. Here I faced one of the biggest struggle of my life,that was to pass all the subjects! One day I could not write very simple formula on the board, this made me to cry like a baby in front of all my classmates .Again luck was on my side, I passed my PU.  I joined for B.Sc and a different yet a happy phase of my life began. My teacher and my mentor, A P Radha Krishna sir is the only reason for bringing this change! He helped me to find the real me! He made me to prepare science models.  Finally, I completed B.Sc with 87%. Apart from that, I learnt many things from my friends and lecturers. Overall that brought a big change in my life. Later I did my M.sc in physics, now in the last stage of PhD in Physics. 

I am telling all these because, A teacher can create wonders, similarly teachers can ruin student’s life. My teachers changed my life. And of course, as a teacher, I am trying to make my students overcome from their academic and the skills related problems. Also, I believe there is nothing to do with marks, all matter is how skillful you are! How many loyal people are with you in your life? How innovative you are? How you socialize? These are the things that that matter ultimately. 

Do not judge any student or kid by their academic performance.  In this world many wonders and innovations are achieved solely by the Skill based Knowledge. I think each and every kid has their own talent; one should identify and nurture it. I believe that we, teachers have a very important role to play.
And This is the only and main reason to start Akanksha Charitable Trust in 2012. Through this, now my team of 125+ youths are inspiring and educating young minds in rural parts of Karnataka. As of now we have reached 15000+ students. Being a lecturer in Degree College, I inspire my students to work for SDGs by starting youth forum in the same college. I am the managing director of My Medhas. Here we teach students through experiments along with basics. Also, we concentrate on their skill development.

I believe value added education can bring tremendous changes in the society and I work towards bringing this change. If I can win over the bad, anyone can!

Shreesha Bhat
Delegate, YIC IIT Delhi 2019

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A Circular Approach towards the Sustainable Development Goals

Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) is a think tank focused on helping businesses integrate sustainability into their core functions. One of the ways in which we engage businesses is through organizing  multi-stakeholder dialogues such as our annual flagpship Conference “India & Sustainability Standards”. We work across different sectors namely Apparel and textiles, Agro-based industries, ICT and Electronics, Mining and Minerals. Most of our work on promoting business sustainability may be catergorized under the following themes such as Circular Economy, Business and Human Rights, Private Sector and SDGs, Voluntary Sustainability Standards and MSMEs and Sustainability. 

At CRB we adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of the conceptual frameworks for it’s work on sustainability. In the past few decades, Circular Economy has emerged as an important lever to support sustainable development. As defined by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, circular economy serves as a regenerative economic system which is powered by renewable energy, where the concept of “waste” is designed out, and materials and energy circulate in closed loops for long periods of time. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redesign, Repair, Refurbish and Remanufacture (known as the 7 Rs’)are the basic tenets of circular economy. Circular economy helps us to look at entire production and consumption value chains from a macro, or systems perspective, and design ways to make them sustainable. Given its focus on resource efficiency, systems and design thinking, the concept of circular economy is especially useful towards advancement on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Designing products and services in a way that the by-products and end-of-life products (post-consumer goods) can be disassembled and/or recycled/reused, will make sure that the stress on earth’s limited resources is reduced. 

Through it’s project on Promoting Responsible Value Chains in India for an Effective Contribution of the Private Sector to the SDGs (PROGRESS) ,CRB is currently working with the textile and apparel industry to create strategies to enable a transition to a circular economy. Due to high demand for fashion goods and their rapid obsolescence, millions of tonnes of apparel-related waste end up in landfills every year. After oil and gas, the textile and apparel sectors are considered as the second most polluting industry globally. Cotton, the primary raw material for textiles, requires enormous amounts of fertilizers, water and pesticides, while the manufacturing process is chemical-intensive. Man-made fibres like polyester are created from by-products of the petrochemical industry, which has a large footprint; polyester also leads to microplastics pollution of soil and water bodies.

CRB’s initiative focuses on interactions within global value chains of the textile industry, i.e. how global fashion brands like H&M, C&A, Marks and Spencer, etc. interact with their suppliers, manufacturers and other associates on sustainability issues. As consumers become more aware about the environmental footprint and social impacts of their buying choices, international brands are striving towards making their businesses circular. CRB believes that this can be a huge economic opportunity for Indian garment manufacturers and raw material producers, who can adopt circular economy and fulfil the demand criteria of brands and consumers around the world. This, is turn, will contribute to SDG 12 in India.

But if circular economy or any other sustainability paradigm is to succeed, the consumers, especially the youth must start making conscious lifestyle choices and act as change agents. Once they start demanding sustainable products and services, businesses and governments will align their goals to the SDGs.

by
Ramanuj Mitra, Programme Officer, CRB 

Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) – http://c4rb.org/

India Sustainability Standards – http://www.sustainabilitystandards.in/

 United Nation Sustainable Development Goals – https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

 Ellen Macarthur Foundation – https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept

 Golden Plains Shire 7R’s-  https://www.goldenplains.vic.gov.au/residents/my-home/recycling-and-rubbish/7-rs-recycling

 PROGRESS overview- http://c4rb.org/progress

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Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition for India launched to drive India’s sustainable palm oil market

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New Delhi, India: As the largest consumer and importer of palm oil, globally, India has the potential to play a significant role in driving sustainable practices in the palm oil sector. In order to address this, Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition for India (India-SPOC) was recently launched as a collaborative effort between Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – India, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Rainforest Alliance (RA) at a global convention on sustainable trade and standards in New Delhi. 

In recent years, palm oil has become one of the most widely used vegetable oils in the food and FMCG industry, given its productivity and versatility in use. However, the factors that have made palm oil a success have also brought with it well-documented environmental and social challenges. Most prominent among these are links to deforestation, labour rights, and damaging effects on nature and the environment, particularly when grown unsustainably. India-SPOC will be working primarily with companies in India to facilitate collaboration within the industry and help improve sustainability performance across their palm oil supply chain. The coalition will work towards addressing barriers and challenges to sustainable palm oil by taking into consideration the unique characteristics of the palm oil sector in India, focusing on aspects including policy, best practices for production, trade linkages, and consumer sensitisation to sustainability.

The collaborative platform will consist of associations, civil society organisations, consumer goods manufacturers, food-service retailers, retailers, banks and financial institutions, and palm oil traders and producers committed to increasing the use of sustainable palm oil and its derivatives in the Indian market. India-SPOC has opened its request for stakeholder participation with CRB playing the role of the Secretariat for the coalition.

Centre for Responsible Business

“The formation of India-SPOC is a timely and positive development in India and for the Asian region. I believe India-SPOC, to a great extent, will address the concerns and doubts of scholars and critics who argue that the increase in South-South trade in food, feed and fibre, for which India is a leading actor for both imports and exports, may undermine sustainability issues. I am sure India-SPOC will develop appropriate strategies, plans and activities for proactive engagement with palm oil producers, processors, users and other stakeholders in the value chain to address and arrest the challenges of deforestation, biodiversity loss, human and labour rights in palm oil industry in India and the region. Many congratulations and my best wishes to the leaders at Rainforest Alliance, RSPO, WWF and CRB for initiating and leading this initiative.”

  • Dr. Bimal Arora, Honorary Chairperson, Centre for Responsible Business and Faculty at Aston Business School, United Kingdom

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – India

“As the world’s largest consumer of palm oil, India could play a pivotal role in promoting the sustainable production of palm oil. India-SPOC provides an opportunity for the Indian palm oil industry to positively influence the domestic demand for sustainable palm oil.”  

  • Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

“With approximately 98% of palm oil (crude, refined and processed) consumed in India, coming from imported sources, India-SPOC will bring a much needed dialogue of sustainable palm oil to India. On behalf of RSPO, I congratulate all of India-SPOC’s founding partners and we hope the coalition will play a key role in helping achieve the shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.” 

  • Darrel Webber, Chief Executive Officer

Rainforest Alliance

“The time is right for the Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition. Palm oil is in high demand and provides a livelihood to millions of farmers and workers in the tropics. The negative social and environmental impacts from its production in South east Asia have been well publicised. A commitment from companies in India, the world’s largest importer, to buy palm oil produced without those negative impacts will send a clear message through the supply chain and stimulate further progress in sustainable production practices.” 

  • Mr. Edward Millard, Director

 

About Centre for Responsible Business

The Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) is an independent centre of excellence, working with business and stakeholders to promote responsible business strategies, policies and practices. For more information please visit, http://www.c4rb.org/

About WWF

WWF-India is a leading conservation organisation with a global network active in more than 100 countries dedicated to building a world in which humans live in harmony with nature. For more information please visit, www.wwfindia.org

About RSPO

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. For more information, please visit RSPO’s global website www.rspo.org

About Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organisation working to build a future in which nature is protected and biodiversity flourishes, where farmers, workers, and communities prosper, and where sustainable land use and responsible business practices are the norm. For more information please visit, www.rainforest-alliance.org/

RSPO will be the ‘Sustainability Partner’ for the 10th Young India Challenge (YIC) which will be organized Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi on 12-13 October 2019. The theme for the event is ‘Sustainable Living’ and the focus is on finding solutions for SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13: Climate Action. You can apply for the 10th YIC here: https://youngindiachallenge.com/

 

For further information, kindly contact:info@humancircle.in

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India Commences National Interpretation of Principles & Criteria 2018 (Global Sustainability Standard for the Production of Palm Oil)

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Following a successful first meeting in Hyderabad in February, to develop the National Interpretation (NI) of the revised RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) 2018, the Indian NI Working Group (NIWG) held its second meeting earlier this month in Mumbai, from 14-15 May 2019. 

The NIWG reviewed the P&C 2018 and discussed its relevance for Indian plantations, mills, and smallholders. The RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard, currently in its third round of public consultations, was also discussed at length amongst the group. After the first meeting, the RSPO organised a field trip in Andhra Pradesh to increase the level of understanding for working group members and allow them to interact with local smallholders, visit local mills, and also to help them to better understand the challenges faced on the ground.  

India has a legislation that is similar to a ‘jurisdictional approach’ but due to legal restrictions, company-owned oil palm plantations in India is uncommon. However, with more than 50,000 oil palm smallholders grouped in different zones and bound to specific mills, the hope is that this could be an opportunity for smallholder farmers in India to produce palm oil sustainably. Aside from this, RSPO is expecting its first Indian smallholder group to be certified by mid 2020.

Over the course of these meetings, the group also discussed supply chain models, systems for certification, mills and Independent Smallholder Credits, among other key topics. Some important highlights from these two meetings were the agreement of the definition of ‘smallholders’ in India’s context, and the different scenarios for the applicability of the P&C 2018, ISH Standard, Group Certification, and Supply Chain Certification.

The India NI initiative has been supported by an in-depth baseline assessment study and gap analysis for Indian farmers, commissioned by the RSPO. Transgraph Consulting will be working with the NIWG to finalise the draft of the NI, which will go through a 30-day public consultation period from June to July. The NIWG will then gather for the third meeting in August to discuss the public comments and prepare the final draft to be submitted to the RSPO Secretariat for approval by the RSPO Board of Governors (BOG). 

New Members for India’s Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition

There has been strong support for the India Sustainable Palm Oil Coalition (I-SPOC) since it launched in September last year, with 15 organisations joining the coalition in just 8 months. The founding members held their first members’ meeting at the Hindustan Unilever (HUL) headquarters in India. To strengthen the governance of the coalition, HUL and AAK Kamani were asked to join the founding members as part of the I-SPOC Steering Committee. 

The coalition members have now been divided into three working groups namely; Policy Advocacy, Supply Chain Transformation and End-Users, to pursue activities that will accomplish I-SPOC‘s mission to promote sustainable consumption and trade of palm oil and its derivatives in India along the supply chain, through industry collaboration

The current members of I-SPOC include Climate Disclosure Project, Colgate-Palmolive, Ferrero, Galaxy Surfactants, Haldiram’s, Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble and Rabobank. Representatives from Reliance Retail, Dunkin Brands, General Mills, IKEA, Reckitt Benckiser, HSBC, Yes Bank and ISEAL Alliance joined the first meeting as ‘Observers’.

Palm oil is a priority raw material and in 2016, we brought forward our target for purchasing 100% physically certified palm oil from 2020 to 2019. As a ‘Steering Committee’ member of I-SPOC, we believe we’ll make greater progress towards transforming the industry in India through greater transparency,” said Jasbir Singh Nanda, Procurement Director – South Asia at Unilever.

Arindom Datta, Rabobank’s Executive Director added that “palm oil is an important ingredient for food and consumer goods, generating high economic value for global companies and for small family farms in Asia. Rabobank is involved in solutions, from the plantation to the supermarket shelf. As a food and agri bank, it is in our interest that the sectors in which we are strong are also healthy. India is a challenging market and therefore, it is good to see that several large organisations have joined I-SPOC already. We are fully committed to encouraging all stakeholders to transition to certified sustainable palm oil coming to India from Malaysia and Indonesia and also its domestic production in India once the ‘National Interpretation’ process is complete. For a significant long-term impact, at some stage, we will also need to bring in government representatives for policy level interventions.” 

RSPO will be the ‘Sustainability Partner’ for the 10th Young India Challenge (YIC) which will be organized Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi on 12-13 October 2019. The theme for the event is ‘Sustainable Living’ and the focus is on finding solutions for SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13: Climate Action. You can apply for the 10th YIC here: https://youngindiachallenge.com/

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Ankit’s Journey and Young India Challenge

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Change never happens in isolation and once it starts happening, it cannot be confined or controlled. I have experienced it in my journey of bringing change. 

Hi, I am Ankit Raj, and I belong to a small remote village of western Bihar. From the very beginning, like most of the families who aspire to fix the financial insecurities by getting a government job, my family was also very ambitious and wanted me to be an officer in Indian Army and carry forward the legacy of my previous generation dominated by officers of Indian Army. After several failures to get into military schools, the memorable successes during my NCC Career brought me the opportunity to go through Officers Training and also the title ‘Pride of the Battalion’. Henceforth, rather than choosing to secure the nation from external threats, I chose to eradicate the bigger threat to internal security and prosperity of the nation that is ‘poverty’.

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With 93.8 percentile at national level in AIMA-UGAT 2012, instead of pursuing business studies, I chose to go for B.A. Honours in my English Literature and remain close to my villagers and apply my whatever little knowledge I had for their welfare. That drove me to student politics, RTI activism and citizen journalism. I successfully solved some problems also and that ignited to work for impact at scale. After completion of B.A English Honours, I was chosen for in Gandhi Fellowship and got placed in the tribal block of Surat Gujarat. While working with tribal communities in remote areas, I used to come across several issues and used to feel an urge inside to solve all the problems. I tried my hands in some of the problems and tasted partial success. It made me think about the process I followed and It brought me a realization that I didn’t use the perspectives of my collegues for the solution. That led me to the realization that to solve the traditional issues of the community, we need to bring creative, holistic and comprehensive ways. There starts the search for opportunities where I may meet ‘creative-problem-solvers’ and the nature conspired to bring Young India Challenge 2017 in my way. I just grabbed it and made myself available for a life changing opportunity. 

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YIC may be several things for several people, but for me, it was a platform which expanded the framework of my thought process which made my outlook more spacious for knowledge, aspiration and vision. It stretched my outlook from local to global; and due to that along with my interest in local governance and rural development, I started getting interested in international developments and challenges. The challenge of finding solutions to global problems in few hours was like shaking your brain like anything, but with the enthusiastic team members, we could find a solution, propose a business plan and appeared replicable. This brought me a learning that solution will be in our hand as and when we want it. 

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The habit of visualizing problems in global framework and local resources made me realize the importance of even a small positive step anywhere in the world. It increased my interconnectedness, expanded my knowledge base, my network, capability and opportunities. Today, I am a person whose interest lies in foreign relations along with local governance of India.

In 2019, I am working with the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj to implement a national project which aims to bring youngsters in Panchayats to increase the capacity of Panchayat Elected representatives and government employees and ensure that participatory, planned and sustainable development is taking place. Now, when I apply the global lens and find myself solving several of UN – SDGs. This makes me visionary and makes me ahead of the average thought leaders.  

I will always be grateful to YIC and will keep being a problem solver for the community. I think this is the best way to build the nation and self.