Solvay’s partner in the Sustainable Guar Initiative, non-profit organization TechnoServe, received the American Chemistry Council’s External Collaborator Award for its commitment to working with ACC members and others throughout the guar supply chain to drive sustainability and innovation. The Sustainable Guar Initiative is an integrated program implemented by Solvay and its partners in collaboration with TechnoServe to teach and promote sustainable agricultural practices, and encourage women empowerment among guar bean farmers within the Bikaner desert district in Rajasthan, India.
The program provides benefits upstream and downstream for partners across the value chain, improving the livelihood of guar bean farmers by ensuring income durability and protecting local resources while considering the impact climate change has on their activities. It is considered a model for inclusive business and accelerates Solvay’s One Planet commitment under its Better Life theme.
The Sustainable Guar Initiative was initially set up in 2015 by Solvay, L’Oréal, TechnoServe, and Hichem, a Solvay joint venture and guar manufacturer. With Henkel joining the partnership in 2017 the number of Indian farmers involved in the project increased to over 7,300 in 2020 – of these 25% are women. “We are pleased that TechnoServe has been recognized for their inestimable contribution to the success of our Sustainable Guar Initiative by offering strong local expertise, on-the-ground involvement, and market analysis,” said Anne-Charlotte Butrot, Sustainability Project manager at Solvay. “TechnoServe has been the enabling partner for Solvay and its international collaborators providing farmers training for land and seed treatment, improving crop cultivation for arid conditions, soil replenishment techniques, and rainwater harvesting systems to enhance crop yields. The program also focuses on women empowerment through the management of kitchen gardens and health and nutrition training.”
Solvay is a world leader in guar derivatives and India provides about 80% of the world’s total guar production, where farmers play an integral role at the top of the supply chain. The seeds are processed to obtain guar gum, an exceptionally fine thickener and stabilizer used as an eco-friendly solution in a range of industries such as personal care and cosmetics.
“Assisting Solvay and their partners to bring to fruition this commendable initiative to transform the lives of guar bean farmers in poor communities has been a very rewarding experience,” said Punit Gupta, country director, TechnoServe India. “Small farmers in India face numerous challenges ranging from soil quality, scarce water supply, and lack of access to markets for their crops. With a specific focus on women farmers to help them improve well-being, nutrition, and gain economic independence, we provided the tools and resources for improving yields, thereby helping enhance revenue to raise their standard of living.”