Continued commitment of spice companies to sustainable innovation

Sustainability was recognized as an opportunity for innovation in the Sustainable Spice Initiative (SSI) panel at the International Spice Conference on February 4-7, 2018 in Jaipur, India.

The session and panel were led by Alfons van Gulick, SSI chairman and managing director of NedSpice. He emphasized that sustainability is not just “an empty business buzzword”, instead, “sustainability aids companies in achieving superior financial performance”, making it an important success factor for companies in the 21st century. “The long-term strategic focus and inclusive responsibilities focusing on ethical practices, employees, environment, and customers, ensure that companies with sustainability policies achieve higher profits.”

SSI India (SSI-I) works under the umbrella of the global initiative. It engages in projects in India to achieve domestic and international change in partnership with leading exporters and industry organizations. The local initiative is led by Pramit Chanda, IDH India country director, who believes sustainable spices should be targeted “Glocally”, by integrating local and global efforts. “Collaboration should be created with a strategic selection and tactical alliance with adequate capacity, timing and speed. To create successful collaborations, we also need shining knights to lead the way.”

SSI offers members increased competitiveness and facilitating the uptake of sustainability policies can also positively affect innovation. Van Gulick asserts: “Sustainability approaches can’t be easily copied. You can distinguish real innovators from window dressers, because a trick can’t simply be repeated without investments of time and money.”

Next steps for SSI revolve around the 2025 covenant. The covenant solidifies the aim of achieving 100% sustainable spice production and ties this in with stimulating growth in top 3 spice categories by 2021.

SSI is a sector-wide consortium founded in 2012 that brings together an international group of companies active within the spices and herbs sector, and NGOs. IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative established the platform. This includes organizations such as McCormick, Unilever, Nedspice, Intersnack, Kerry, Olam, Kutas, Intersnack, Euroma, Verstegen, ITC India, Jayanti, Harris Freeman, Griffith Foods, Sabater and many more valuable partners. Together with civil society organizations, such as the Royal Tropical Institute, Icco-Cooperation, Rainforest Alliance, SNV and others, these companies made a commitment to source their products sustainably and to make a positive impact on their value chains.