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 the 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 multi-stakeholder working group.
The MoU was signed by Prof. Ashwini Chhatre, Executive Director- 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.
AAK specializes in plant-based oils that are the value-adding ingredients in many of the products people love to consume. AAK makes these products better tasting, healthier, and more sustainable. At the heart of AAK’s offer is Customer Co-Development, combining their desire to understand what better means for each customer, with the unique flexibility of our production assets, and a deep knowledge of many products and industries, including Chocolate & Confectionery, Bakery, Dairy, Plant-based Foods, Special Nutrition, Foodservice and Personal Care. AAK’s 4,000 employees support their close collaboration with customers through 25 regional sales offices, 15 dedicated Customer Innovation Centers, and the support of more than 20 production facilities.
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.”
AAKIPL 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.
ISB-BIPP 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.
The Indian School of Business gained the unique distinction of receiving accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA), making it the 100th School in the world to achieve the ‘triple crown’ of accreditations from AMBA, EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Accreditation from AMBA represents the highest standard of achievement in post-graduate business education. Its rigorous assessment criteria ensure that only the highest-calibre programmes which demonstrate the best standards in teaching, curriculum, and student interaction achieve Association of MBAs accreditation.
The Forest Economy initiative by ISB-BIPP aims to build a landscape-scale sustainable, thriving forest economy. Forests are sustainable spaces of production and can provide secure sources of raw materials and energy alternatives to the industry, along with improved livelihoods and prosperity to over 200 million forest-dependent communities. Anchored in secure tenure, the forest economy model will enable sustainable forest management, value creation to the economy and a secure source of supply at scale to the industry.