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Henkel, BASF and Solidaridad support around 5,500 smallholders in Indonesia

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When renewable raw materials such as palm oil and palm kernel oil are used, the main focus is on economic, environmental and social impacts along the entire supply chain – from field to shelf. Small farms produce around 40 percent of the world’s palm and palm kernel oil.

An important question for the oil producing countries is how to increase the yields from the land already under cultivation. This is why Henkel and BASF are collaborating with the development organization Solidaridad to support a project in Indonesia and advocate for smallholders and local initiatives.

Trainings for around 5,500 farmers

Sustainable farming methods, efficient production and high occupational health and safety standards are some of the most important conditions for certified palm oil production. Smallholders can learn how to fulfill these requirements locally in dedicated training programs. Since 2015, Henkel has been supporting the 5-year-project in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan. Earlier this year, BASF joined the effort as an additional industrial partner. The smallholder program is implemented by Solidaridad in cooperation with its partners Good Return and Credit Union Keling Kumang (CUKK). The Australian non-governmental organization Good Return coaches and supports the teachers who carry out the trainings on the ground and who will continue the farmer support program after the project ends. The teachers are employees of CUKK, the second largest local credit organization in Indonesia.

Through the project, Solidaridad and its partners want to establish sustainable supply chains for palm and palm kernel oil that both effectively improve smallholders’ living conditions and are eligible for certification according to the criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Of the around 5,500 farmers that will be reached by the project, 1,600 will learn about the different aspects of good agricultural practice (GAP) in direct trainings that include measures for sustainable farming as well as for increasing crop yields. Furthermore, around 3,900 smallholders will be reached not only through a multiplier effect, but also via farmer field days and regular text messages on their mobile phones. The project spans an area of roughly 16,000 hectares.

Common commitment to a sustainable palm oil industry

“We want to change the market to develop a sustainable palm oil industry. To do so, we also need solutions and projects that allow small farms to increase productivity on their plantations – and we are making an important contribution to that by supporting local partners and initiatives,” explained Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Corporate Senior Vice President in the Laundry & Home Care business unit and Deputy Chairman of Henkel’s Sustainability Council. “With BASF supporting this smallholder project as an additional industrial partner, we’re sending the signal that we are joining forces to make the palm oil market more sustainable.”

“BASF is one of the largest global manufacturers of ingredients for the cosmetics industry as well as the home care industry and one of the links in the palm oil supply chain from smallholders to end consumers. We believe that we can only find solutions for sustainable, certified palm oil products by working together to preserve the forests and improve the living conditions of the people in the farming areas,” said Jan-Peter Sander, Senior Vice President at BASF Personal Care Europe. “That’s why we are collaborating intensively with our customers and suppliers, and also want to involve more smallholders in the dialog. The project in West Kalimantan is an important step in this direction.”

Higher yields and increased income for smallholders

The productivity of small farms in the palm oil industry is estimated to be 40 percent lower than the average when compared with larger companies. Measures ranging from farmer trainings to sustainable farming methods are expected to increase palm fruit yields and increase smallholders’ revenue. “We are delighted that Henkel and BASF are supporting this project in West Kalimantan,” said Marieke Leegwater, program manager palm oil at Solidaridad. “We think that it is of great interest that companies using palm oil products take responsibility beyond just buying sustainable palm oil, and contribute to investing in more sustainable and inclusive palm oil supply chains on the ground. This project certainly contributes to building such inclusive and sustainable chains, as it is expected to make a significant contribution to improve the livelihoods of independent oil palm farmers in the province of West Kalimantan, one of the poorest regions in Indonesia.”

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The Urgent Need For Political Action On Climate Change In South Asia

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The universal consensus on climate change is the need of the hour. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed that climate change is real in its Fourth Assessment Report. Climate change denialism will make the planet more vulnerable to anthropogenic activities. It will further polarise the world on a burning issue that needs international attention. The benefits from adaptation and mitigation methods are far more than not taking action on climate change. 

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South Asia has a unique geographical location blessed with various rivers and a diverse ecosystem. The region’s diverse flora and fauna make it one of the richest regions abundant with natural resources. However, the tentacles of climate change have made the region susceptible to threats. The effects of climate change would be more adverse in this region because the majority of the population is dependent on the agrarian sector. Moreover, colonisation and internal conflicts in South Asian countries have crippled the economy and pushed large sections of the population into poverty. The bulging population in developing countries makes the threat to natural resources more serious. 

Most of the countries opened up their economy through liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation but it only widened the gap between the rich and the poor. One of the most adverse effects of globalisation on South Asia was that it infused a consumerist and aspirational attitude in young minds at the expanse of the environment. Globalisation has often pushed development by putting the environment on stake. The worst thing about crony capitalism is that it is only motivated by profits. The core countries have often encouraged the South Asian countries to adopt policies at the cost of the environment. For example, the state government of Himachal Pradesh declared Badi as a tax free region. As a result of this, many international and national industries were set up. When the government realised that the benefit from industries was meagre compared to the harm they were causing to the environment. The industries, therefore, thought of shifting their production houses somewhere else. (Skylab, 2009) The hypocrisy of globalisation and capitalism will result in destruction of the environment which will lead to a gloomy future for our future generations. This article will try to analyse the importance to address the problem of climate change in South Asia and how a green economy can benefit the population in the long run.

The Climate Change Threats And Consequences That South Asian Countries Are Facing 

Flash floods: Flash floods in South Asia is a result of climate change. It increases the water to an alarming level. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) describes flash floods as, “A flood that rises and falls quite rapidly with little or no advance warning, usually the result of intense rainfall over a relatively small area.” It has led to loss of property and lives in South Asia. Hyderabad recently experienced flash floods. The city recorded 191 mm of rain within the span of a few hours. It has been the heaviest ever recorded in 97 years. Almost 70 people lost their lives. (Indian Express, 2020) 

Melting of Himalayas: Himalayan glaciers are melting at a very fast rate posing grave danger to South Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Scientists have revealed that the melting of glaciers has doubled with the beginning of the century. The most prominent reason for melting of the Himalayan glaciers at such a fast rate is anthropogenic activities of the human race. This will lead to severe floods in the South Asian countries. The glacier lake outburst flood (GLOF) can lead to mass destruction. According to a 2011 study, 42 lakes in Nepal were at high risk of flood. (National Geographic, 2019) 

Rise in water level: Low-lying areas are at risk due to the rise of water level in South Asian countries. A large chunk of land from countries like Maldives and Bangladesh will get submerged due to climate change. Most of the areas of Bangladesh are already sinking. Moreover, the saline water makes the land poisonous due to which crops die. The coral reefs of maldives are getting threatened due to rising sea level. They are one of the major sources of the growth of nature based tourism in Maldives which has contributed 70% of the country’s GDP. (The World Bank, 2010) 

Rise in temperature: Many of the regions of South Asia have experienced extreme high temperature over the years. Western Afghanistan and Southwestern Pakistan have experienced extreme hot climates. In many of the regions the monsoon precipitation rate has decreased. Central and Western India has experienced extreme dry periods and wet periods.However, the temperature will increase least in the coastal areas of South Asia because oceans help to moderate the temperature.(Bandyopadhyay et al., 2018) When temperature rises, photosynthesis and respiration become unbalanced. Pollination of a plant is most susceptible due to rise in temperature. 

Political Action On Climate Change In South Asia 

Climate change will further cripple the South Asian countries if immediate action is not taken together. The domestic policies of the governments are not enough to reduce the implications of climate change. One region might be more responsible for the increase in anthropogenic activities but the impact will be felt by all the regions of South Asia. Similarly, it will not be enough for only one country to take action to mitigate climate change in South Asia. The immediate collective and political action is required to address the implications of climate change. Both mitigation and adaptation is required to minimise the threat of climate change. The mistrust and regional conflict between India and Pakistan and other countries needs to be set aside for cooperation and immediate action for regional interest. SAARC needs to revamp and fulfill its long standing commitments on various agreements and collective policies like SAARC Food Security Reserve for natural calamities, SAARC Seed Bank, SAARC Disaster Management Centre, etc. 

However, we cannot deny the efforts and initiative of our leaders to create awareness and take up various mitigation and adaptation projects to tackle climate change. India along with Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, shares hydrological and meteorological data to prepare for flash floods forecast. Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia (CARE) project has been launched by the World Bank to develop climate resilient technology and policies in South Asia. The World Bank worked with the Government of the Maldives on the Maldives Environment Management Project, $13.5 million IDA credit, to effectively manage environmental risks fragile to the coral reefs and other marine habitats. (World Bank, 2010) Most important of all, the cities of South Asia like Mumbai, Dhaka, Delhi, etc are the hotspots of climate change. The immediate adaptation methods need to be taken to minimise the implications of extreme weather in the cities of South Asia. The countries of the region need to discuss various projects and most important of all they need to discuss funds for adaptation projects. 

Economic Benefits Of Environment Friendly Policies

Most of the population of South Asia is dependent on the agrarian sector. There is a direct relationship between living standard and climate change. This can be understood with the two models i.e. structural models and reduced form models. Structural model analyses the input and output i.e. climate change and consumption expenditure. However, the drawback of structural models is that it doesn’t take into consideration the psychological factor. On the other hand, the reduced form model has greater predictive capability. (Bandyopadhyay et al., 2018) 

In an agrarian based economy, crop failure due to extreme high or fluctuating temperature can lead to reduction in consumption level. On the other hand, wet conditions due to flash floods and extreme climate changes can lead to various diseases. As a result, expenditure on healthcare increases. The people from poorer regions often migrate to urban and developed areas for better opportunities and lack of resources and money to shift to adaptation methods. The condition of the migrated families due to climate change is tragic and they are often susceptible to violence and abuse. They are often not accepted in the regions they migrate. Professor Myers’ estimated 200 million climate migrants by 2050. 

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change suggests that action on climate change requires 1% of Global GDP. The economic benefits of action on climate change is immense. The Review also suggests that economic damage from not working on climate change is 5% of Global GDP. If wider risks are considered then the economic loss can be estimated upto 20%. ( Stern Review, 2006) According to Simon Dietz and Nicholas Stern (2013), “Thus, what theReview recommends constitutes nothing less than a strong and sustained reduction in the volume of GHGs emitted by global economic activity. Yet, an examination of the ways in which this can be achieved shows that it is both technically and economically feasible and at a cost which, while significant, is small in comparison with the range of benefits of doing so, at least up to the 450–550 ppm CO2e range (i.e., this conclusion is unlikely to apply to even lower stabilization targets, essentially because we have already passed them.” 

Conclusion

It’s high time for South Asia to realise that climate change is real and it will cause destruction to the entire region if serious political action is not taken into account. The countries need to come together putting aside their differences to formulate policies that will benefit the environment, economy and population of South Asia. Moreover, working for a common cause might also help in improving the diplomatic relations between the countries of South Asia. A green economy will have a positive impact on the health of the people and it will also mean a sustainable future. It’s time to realise that our resources are finite to fulfill our infinite desires. 

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Sustainability From Procurement to Human Rights

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Having a sustainable Supply Chain and Procurement, based on the assessment of environmental, social, governance and supplier performance, has become a key factor for successful businesses and long-term growth.

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Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta sponsors ‘Cranberry. Shores’ arts festival

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The Fifth Experimental Plein Air Festival of Visual Arts ‘Cranberry. Shores’ (‘Klyukva. Berega’) was held from August 1 through August 16, 2016, at the initiative of the Artists Union of the Komi Republic, the Yugor Cultural Initiatives Center, and Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University. Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta was the festival’s general partner.

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