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The Coconut Roundtable 2023 : Building solid foundations towards a sustainable market transformation

Celebrating a remarkable first year, our sustainability platform has reached key milestones, shaping the foundation of our journey.

In the past 10 months, we've shown unwavering commitment to building a sustainable industry amidst early signs of supply, social, and economic challenges.

We've cultivated an amazing community of dedicated professionals, fostering collaborations that drive positive change. Together, we stand stronger in the face of systemic issues too challenging to tackle individually.


As we bid farewell to 2023, join us in reflecting on our inaugural year and accomplishments. Get a sneak peek into the exciting transformations ahead, as we gear up for bold initiatives and groundbreaking ventures to support coconut farmers.


The story of our year unfolds, and the best is yet to come.

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Building an inclusive, accessible Assurance System based on the Sustainable Coconut Charter
 

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Completing the toolbox of the
sustainable coconut charter

V1

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V2

Additions

  • Principles & Ambitions

For sustainability programs
(beginning of the supply chain)

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  • Enhanced Principles & Ambitions

 

Inclusive of "supply chain management" and with enhanced social and biodiversity principles reflecting issues on the ground

  • A New  inclusive Assurance System

> A framework for improving corporate claims, focusing on supply chain and sustainability, encouraging transparency and sustainable practices.

> A verification process for sustainable sourcing claims.

  • No Assurance Scheme

The Sustainable Coconut Partnership's Roundtable 2023 marked a pivotal moment with the unveiling of the Sustainable Coconut Charter v2.0, charting a new course for sustainability in the coconut industry.

This revised charter stands as a beacon of change, introducing revised principles and ambitions to create the enabling conditions for transformation in supply chains. 

We set the stage for an inclusive assurance system, designed to bridge gaps in existing schemes, empowering previously marginalized farmers and companies trapped in cycles of poverty.

 

 Through stepwise implementation, this assurance system aims to enable broad industry participation in sustainable practices.

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The new assurance system will be piloted by members in 2024

Karen Thyvia Lourdes, Global Sustainable Sourcing Leader,
Sugar and Coconut, Nestlé

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The Sustainable Coconut Charter gains recognition from governmental agencies and authorities in production countries

On September 23, 2023, the Sustainable Coconut Charter earned recognition from governmental agencies in 21 countries, establishing it as the industry's "market-based framework for sustainability."

The Charter is now the go-to framework for credible and sustainable coconut practices, endorsed by both public and private sectors!

This is a massive milestone for any sustainability framework when a common language for credible and verified sustainability practices is adopted and we are happy to have delivered such a framework for coconut markets, now recognized by both leading private and public sector.
And more to this, a very timely milestones as the assurance framework of the charter will be built in early 2024 to recognize jurisdictions and sustainability programs verified through the charter’s principles and ambitions.

An immediate demand for verified projects

A number of companies local and central governments approached the Sustainable Coconut Partnership to develop new jurisdictional coconut sourcing projects in Indonesia and the Philippines, fostering positive change in the coconut industry. Our working group on landscape approach is working to scope these opportunities and members are progressively positioning themselves onto these new opportunities.

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The Sustainable Coconut Charter is pivotal for sustainable production, supporting farmers' livelihoods.

Mathieu Goulmy - Responsible Sourcing Manager, Coconuts, Unilever

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Expert’s views: Are we ahead of the curve forming a sectoral approach for sustainability?

The question had to be raised because it's crucial for any sustainability effort to determine whether it's valid and justified to push for greater ambitions when coconut, unlike other commodities, isn't in the spotlight. This year, we formed our first ever independent advisory board made of experts in the sector. The roundtable provided the perfect platform for a public discussion on this matter.

A panel of experts concluded that concerted, pre-competitive action is imperative to tackle the pressing social and supply crises faced by farmers, companies, and producing countries in the coconut industry. The exchanges were rich and enabled for each member, participants and observers to witness the extent of the issues, their magnitude and how we can avoid an upcoming supply, social and economic crisis.

Insights from experts underscored that sustainability initiatives are no longer a possibility but an imperative, setting the stage for industry-wide collaboration to navigate these challenges:

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"Demand for Lauric Oils continues to increase as populations grow and consume more specialty fats and oleochemicals. Palm Kernel oil supply, however, has stopped increasing as area groth and slows and yields stagnate. Coconut oil - with superior characteristics- will be high in demand but low productivity among coconut smallholders means supply will continue to stagnate unless the industry rises to meet this challenge."

Julian Mc Gill


Managing Director of Glenauk Economics.

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Julian Mc Gill


Managing Director of Glenauk Economics.

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“There is a very real lack of replanting and quality seedings that will pose a serious problem if not addressed at the level it should, both industry and governments have a role to play.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roland Bourdeix


President Diveriflora International, Researcher, CIRAD

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Roland Bourdeix


President Diveriflora International, Researcher, CIRAD

We need to act now, it is not because NGO's reports' are not slamming the sector that the weak signs of social, economic and supply crisis are any less important. It is key for the sector to act collaboratively to avoid turbulences and disruptions in the future

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“We are not ahead of the curve as farmer livelihoods are at stake, the next generation of farmers has to be addressed urgently.”

 

 

 

 

 

Clément Jaloux

Director - BiodivSourcing

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Clément Jaloux

Director - BiodivSourcing

New initiative for and by the members
Deforestation and tree age monitoring initiative
The Sustainable Coconut Partnership members are committed to a multi-faceted mission that seeks to address several pressing issues in the coconut industry. Through the development of state of the art coconut tree maps assessing the age of trees and link to deforestation, this initiative allows deforestation-freesourcing monitoring and an analysis of needs of rejuvenation of plantations.

An interactive map detailing deforestation risks and the impact of monitoring initiatives visually highlights the progress and potential for sustained ecosystem preservation.
Members will use these new capabilities for collective investments in farm rejuvenation, increased traceability and increased due diligences in supply chains. 

A collective assessment of key  priority areas for collective engagement is ongoing to establish industry-wide best practices and impact programs helping members source sustainably and deforestation free of past, present and future deforestation.
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Wrapping the first year of our working groups:
a very successful takeoff

The working groups are our biggest collaborative platform, and our members drive ambitious transformations there:

Transparency and Traceability

The working group agreed on revised principles to enhance transparency in coconut farming and supply chains through an industry wide consultation. Members successfully integrated the updated principles in the revised coconut charter. We now set sail towards the next milestone, an 'Oh so important' common sustainability information sharing system to remove burden and fatigue of reporting on different templates and criteria. By learning from the pitfalls of other commodities before us, this new system will allow for more investment into action to support farmers and less on excel sheets.

Low Carbon & Regenerative Agriculture

Members emphasized the need for game-changing approaches to support farmer livelihoods and crop sustainability. We are conducting a first ever comprehensive research project focused on the opportunities, costs, and benefits of effective low-carbon and regenerative agricultural practices in the coconut industry leveraging on our members' approaches and strengths. Results are expected for end of Q1 2024.

Landscape Approach

Members focused on establishing a number of jurisdictions of common interest for future coconut charter verified areas as well as identifying deforestation risk and farm rejuvenation needs through remote sensing maps in 8 countries. (See above Deforestation and Tree Age Monitoring)

Human Rights Due Diligence

Members agreed to open the new working group in 2024 to collectively invest in collective social due diligence, living income benchmarks and  market access enhancement. Click here to join the working group.

Key Achievements and Progress

Successful revision of the Sustainable Coconut Charter on November 10th 2023

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We are ready to deliver a game-changing Assurance System for coconut smallholder farmers:

Launching a progressive, inclusive assurance system, enabling sustainable sourcing claims in 2024.

Global Platform Expansion:

Significant growth in membership from 5 to 29 in 10 months, gaining recognition from the public sector agencies and governments for our sustainable Coconut Charter

A landmark collaboration

with the intergovernmental coconut group the International Coconut Community ensures we are bridging the gap between public and private sectors to support coconut farmers.

Groundbreaking Deforestation and Tree Age Monitoring Initiative:

Equipping members with mapping capabilities for collective investments in farm rejuvenation, increased traceability, and due diligence in supply chains.

Delivery of a revised Sustainable Coconut Charter

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Together, we can change the future of the coconut industry !

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