ISB signs MoU with AAK for a sustainable and prosperous forest economy

By Team Marcomm Oct 19, 2022

[October 19, 2022]: The Indian School of Business (ISB) and AAK India Pvt. Ltd. (AAKIPL) have signed an MoU to work together in enabling the key steps towards a robust forest economy.

The newly formed partnership will formalize the participation of communities with secure tenure in the economy and facilitate capacity building at grassroots level. They will also support the establishment of community enterprises that will, in turn, bring in efficiencies and scale in operations & business.

AAKIPL is part of AAK, a global leader specializing in plant-based oils and fats, and forest-based resources constitute key raw materials in their value chain. AAKIPL has committed to purchasing forest produce at scale, at competitive market prices directly from enterprises where a secure term has been operationalized. AAKIPL will also introduce the forest economy model to other corporates and play a key role in creating a multistakeholder working group.

The MoU was signed by Prof. Ashwini Chhatre, Executive Director- Bharti Institute of Public Policy (BIPP), Indian School of Business and Mr. Dheeraj Talreja, President, South Asia at AAKIPL.

“AAK is well versed in the potential and value of working with communities for capacity building and sourcing seasonal forest products from community-owned forests for their plant-based operations. I am positive this partnership will be very fruitful and a big step forward in creating a prosperous forest economy that is good for the people, profits and planet,” said Prof. Ashwini Chhatre, Executive Director- BIPP, Indian School of Business.

This partnership between ISB and AAK will spotlight the model of competitive and sustainable forest product supply chains anchored in the security of tenure.

“AAK is excited to partner with the Indian School of Business to engage local people and relevant enterprises in this ambition,” said Dheeraj Talreja, President, South Asia, AAKIPL. “We look forward to working directly with the communities in caring for their forests and economy. I hope that AAK’s experience and learnings from other countries will be helpful to this initiative, which is aligned with AAK’s commitment to sustainability.”

AAK will also partner with the Bharti Institute of Public Policy (BIPP) at the Indian School of Business in constituting a working group under the Initiative on Forest Economy by the end of this year. Large and key stakeholders from industry, government, the technology sector, and communities will participate in this working group.

Bharti Institute of Public Policy at ISB is undertaking the expedited implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, in its pilot areas, towards the recognition of community forest resource rights as a solution to ensure the long-term sustainability of forests. To preserve the sustainability of forests, it is essential to align incentives with conservation efforts, enhance the traceability of seasonal forest products (SFPs) for remote stakeholders, and implement collaborative management of forest resources.