India, the world's largest importer and consumer of palm oil, is showing escalating interest towards sustainable palm oil as reflected by the country's substantial increase in membership in the international multi stakeholder organization, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The number of Indian RSPO members, has increased over five times from 2011 to 2012 comprising leading players within the palm oil sector in India, primarily in the Palm Oil Processors and Traders category.
Ruchi Soya Industries Limited, Emami Biotech Limited, Fine Organic Industries Pvt. Ltd., Galaxy Surfactants Ltd, Gemini Edible and Fats Ltd., Universal Biofuels Pvt. Ltd., Parisons Foods Pvt. Ltd, Liberty Oil mills Ltd., KTV Health Foods Pvt. Ltd are some of the organizations who have joined the RSPO to drive market transformation in the second-most populous country in the world.
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.
Commenting on the developments, Darrel Webber, Secretary General RSPO said, "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."
"Multinationals with Indian footprints like Hindustan Unilever, Wal-Mart and Cargill 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 Ltd., Adani Wilmer Ltd. and VVF Ltd. are playing a significant role in pioneering this wave of change towards sustainable practices." Webber commented.
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.
In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably-produced palm oil, the 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.
The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with a satellite office in Jakarta.
RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry - oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs - to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.