PRESS RELEASE: COCONUT INDUSTRY UNITES AND LAUNCHES THE SUSTAINABLE COCONUT PARTNERSHIP TO ADDRESS RISING SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGES
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Today marks the launch of the newest global sustainability platform in the commodities space, the Sustainable Coconut Partnership (The Partnership). It aims to catalyze responsible coconut production and market transformation at scale by establishing industry-wide best practices and impact programs and further harmonizing industry requirements to their supply chain partners.
The Partnership is supported by The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and BSR. Founding companies include Nestlé, Unilever, AAK, Barry Callebaut, Ferrero, JDE, LDC, Lipsa, Loacker, Oleofats, Procter and Gamble, TM Duche, and Upfield. It welcomes like-minded industry and producer members as well as affiliate members from civil society, associations, financial institutions, trade bodies, service providers, academia, research organizations and governments supporting the ambitions and principles of the Sustainable Coconut Charter. Some of our affiliate members include: Earthworm Foundation, Kaleka, Proforest, Satelligence, and more. A number of governmental, inter-commodity platforms, and NGO partnerships are currently in development and should be announced later in the year during the yearly Roundtable event that will be held in Fall 2023.
Karen Thivya Lourdes, Global Sustainable Sourcing Lead for Sugar and Coconut at Nestlé, said, “This new partnership is a stepping stone that helps ensure coconut is sustainably sourced, improves farmers’ livelihoods and promotes biodiversity. We are proud to be co-founders of the Sustainable Coconut Partnership. Together with all the members and stakeholders, we will push for systemic change in this sector and drive impact at scale.”
Beyond federating initiatives, creating a common language for coconut sustainability, and enabling the industry to network and collaborate better, this organization is focused on impact. It supports the formation of impact projects at the landscape or jurisdictional level. The platform currently works on several new partnerships with civil society and governments which will be real game changers in this industry and eventually for farmers.
“One of our flagship initiatives, the Impact Project Accelerator, exemplifies our impact focus. As an innovative approach to operationalize the Sustainable Coconut Charter goals, the Accelerator’s dedicated support of expert to impact projects through their design, recruitment and funding phases fills an identified resources gap among individual member companies and addresses a current lack of linkages between public and private programs. Members can suggest projects for consideration and receive guidance to see their projects better supported and made more credible and accessible to upstream producers, offtakers and investors” – Gregory Bardies, Executive Director, Sustainable Coconut Partnership.
About the Sustainable Coconut Partnership
Initially dubbed “The Roundtable on Sustainable Coconut”, the Partnership began as a meeting series in 2019. It brought together over 80 buyers, processors and other actors actively involved in coconut supply chains, representing more than 40% of the industry, to collaboratively find solutions and share investment approaches to establish cost-effective sustainable coconut value chains and support farmer livelihoods.
In November 2020, in consultation with more than 100 industry organizations and civil society groups, agreed on broad areas of improvement for the coconut industry through the Sustainable Coconut Charter. The Charter defines coconut sustainability, outlining areas of focus, principles and outcomes expected from sustainability programs in coconut supply chains.
Through 2021, and with the support from GIZ and US Aid, a multi stakeholder taskforce comprised of members of the industry and civil society, reviewed plans, and made recommendations to form this partnership after many roundtable participants collectively called to establish a formal impact driven platform agreeing that the industry and stakeholders need to dedicate further pre-competitive investments to advance a responsible and resilient coconut sector.
The partnership now kicks off with an important part of this group as active members who are taking this next impact-oriented step of joining the partnership and enabling new projects. It plans to extend its membership beyond the current group. The extended community who connects regularly to webinars and attends events counts almost 500 professionals and it is just getting started.
“We will go through an accelerated incubation period for the next two years before we get where the industry and farmers need us to be. With over 30 years of expertise in designing and growing business-led collaborations, BSR is the perfect partner to help drive system change in the coconut supply chain.” - Nicolas Ronderos, BSR Associate Director, Collaborations and Collaboration Director, Sustainable Coconut Partnership.
Please get in touch by contacting the Sustainable Coconut Partnership Executive Director, Grégory Bardies (firstname.lastname@example.org ). The creation of the steering committee and partnership has been facilitated by The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH as part of a development partnership on sustainable coconut (oil) production under the develoPPP programme. As part of this, GIZ will furthermore continue to support the organization of the Roundtable meetings.
Martin Huxtable, Director of Sustainable Sourcing
"Smallholder farmers grow almost all of the world’s coconuts and are important stakeholders when it comes to the protection of the natural environment. Unilever is pleased to be a part of the Sustainable Coconut Partnership to work alongside like-minded organisations to deliver positive change for people and planet in the coconut industry.”
Jass Khaw, Global Sustainability Lead Tropical Oils
“As founding members, we see this partnership as a significant and ground-breaking milestone for a more sustainable coconut industry. In partnering with our industry peers, we look forward to tackling the challenges we see, especially in the upstream supply chain, and creating long-lasting impact for a more sustainable planet.”