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RSPO membership boosted as India ups interest in sustainable palm oil

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 17-Jan-2013

The number of Indian members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has increased over five times in the last year thanks to greater interest in sustainable palm oil for consumer products, including cosmetics.

India is the world's largest importer and consumer of palm oil and escalating interest towards the sustainable product has been reflected by the country's substantial increase in membership in the international multi stakeholder organization.

Palm oil, palm kernel oil and their derivatives are present in about 70 per cent of cosmetic and personal care products and with global demand fuelling unsustainable growth of the palm industry over the past decade, the RSPO hopes this new phase will transform the market.

Positive trend

"We are very pleased to see this positive trend. India is a critical market with a global foot print and as a significant global economy it has immense influence to drive market transformation across the world,” says Secretary-General Darrel Webber.

"Multinationals with Indian footprints like Hindustan Unilever… have played a critical role by leading this transformation to sustainable palm oil as well as inspiring and influencing their Indian counterparts who are now showing intent towards adapting to sustainable practices.”

“In the domestic market, early members like Godrej Industries … are playing a significant role in pioneering this wave of change towards sustainable practices,” he continues.

Making the move

Considering the current barriers and challenges in a price sensitive market like India, this positive development signifies the rising consciences and awareness on the need for the industry to move towards sustainable palm oil.

To keep up with the momentum towards market transformations, RSPO is working closely with global organizations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), to highlight the benefits and urgency for the Indian industry to respond to the need to move towards Sustainable Palm Oil.

RSPO has also partnered with The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to drive policy change towards procurement of SPO by Indian players so as to minimize the damage to the ecology for the future progenies across the world.

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