In a landmark event graced by the presence of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, key stakeholders from across the coffee industry embarked on a journey to transform coffee production in Karnataka, India. The occasion was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), symbolizing a commitment to sustainability, regenerative agriculture, improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers, and addressing challenges posed by climate change in the coffee sector in India.
Signatories to this MOU include IDH, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Sucden, ECOM, Tata Coffee, NKG, and is supported by the Coffee Board of India. These organizations have united to align their efforts towards achieving climate resilience, improving smallholder incomes, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production, ultimately striving for low or net-zero carbon coffee production.
The MOU outlines a shared vision and objectives focusing on areas including the adoption of nature-based solutions to protect and enrich biodiversity, promotion of low-carbon and sustainable farming practices, and improving incomes for smallholder coffee farmers through a collaborative framework. Some of the initiatives under the program will include capacity building of coffee farmers to equip them with the skills necessary for climate-resilient sustainable farming and promoting gender empowerment in the coffee supply chain. A robust monitoring and evaluation framework will also be designed to assess and track progress towards shared sustainability objectives.
Jagjeet Singh Kandal, Country-Director India for IDH, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, saying, “This MOU represents a significant milestone in our collective journey toward sustainable coffee production in Karnataka. We are committed to working hand in hand with our partners to empower the coffee farmers, protect our environment, and build a resilient future for the coffee sector.”
Mandeep Singh Tuli, Procurement Head, Nutrition and Icecream, South Asia said Hindustan Unilever Limited is committed to this transformative journey for the Indian Coffee Sector. This endeavour is not just about the beans we brew; it’s about the lives we impact and the Earth we steward. By championing regenerative agriculture techniques, we are supporting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and nurturing ecosystems that thrive under the shade of our coffee trees. Our commitment to ‘net zero’ is not merely an aspiration; it’s our pledge to lower carbon footprints and cultivate a future where coffee production in India continues its harmony with nature. Inclusivity is at the heart of HUL’s mission, ensuring that every coffee smallholder has a seat at the table and benefits from this multistakeholder program.
This collaborative project will run until December 2026, with dedicated efforts and resources aimed at achieving the program objectives. The signing ceremony was not only a significant milestone for Karnataka’s coffee sector but also a testament to the global commitment to address the challenges of climate change and ensure the well-being of smallholder farmers.