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H&M Group partners with Inditex on regenerative agriculture drive

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-05-09 00:44:39 – Sweden

Swedish fashion retailer H&M Group and Zara-owner Inditex have joined new public-private-community cooperation to promote regenerative agriculture and sustainable sourcing.

The new multi-stakeholder Compact is part of the RPL Collaborative, which was formed by the Laudes Foundation, IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and WWF India. The partnership brings together businesses, governments, farmers, and civil society to support regenerative agriculture and sustainable sourcing.

Inditex, H&M Group, Ikea, Neutral, PepsiCo India, Samunnati, Jayanti Spices, INI Farms, and SV Agri have formed public-private-community partnerships (Compacts) through RPL Collaborative. The multi-stakeholder Compact also includes important decision-makers from civil society organizations such as SRIJAN, Action for Social Advancement, and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, as well as farmer producer organizations.

The first Compact is being created in the Madhya Pradesh (MP) district of Chhindwara, which will reach 20,000 farmers and put 20,000 hectares under regenerative farming methods. The second Compact will target 120,000 farmers in the state by covering eight districts in western Madhya Pradesh, including areas of the Narmada Basin.

Through multi-stakeholder Compacts, the RPL Collaborative helps to revitalize soil health, increase smallholder farmer incomes, improve access to water, increase biodiversity, and address gender equity. Members of a Compact collaborate to leverage large-scale environmental and social commitments and mobilize financial assistance for landscape-scale sustainability projects. It enables businesses to source responsibly while cultivating inclusive supply chain relationships, enables smallholder farmers and communities to thrive through increased decision-making participation, and enables producers to grow agri-commodities using natural and regenerative farming principles that restore natural resources and reduce emissions from farming systems.

Suhas Khandagale, global material innovation, and strategy manager at H&M Group, said that promoting regenerative agriculture is critical for their biodiversity goal to have a net positive impact through natural ecosystem conservation and restoration. They aim to use their size and influence to bring about constructive change. By cooperating with other stakeholders, they can help to enhance sustainable agricultural methods, benefiting the environment and farming community.

Luis Coloma, head of environmental sustainability at Inditex, said that restoring and maintaining natural ecosystems is a common duty of all of them. Regenerative agriculture not only has substantial environmental advantages, such as soil restoration, improved water management, and lower CO2 emissions, but it also serves to improve the living situations of farmers, their families, and larger communities. This is an excellent illustration of their hybrid – social and environmental – approach to sustainability.

Highlighting the importance of sustainable sourcing in the collaborative, Daan Wensing, CEO IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative, said that the current situation of agricultural production and ecosystem management demands system reform. To enable their food and agricultural systems to adapt to climate change, they must transition to regenerative agriculture. At the same time, they must ensure that farmers have enough to invest in their own futures. The business sector can play a significant role in catalyzing system change by sourcing responsibly, investing, providing scale, and collaborating to create new paths to a sustainable future.

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