India, which produces about 20 lakh tonnes of castorseed per annum meeting over 90 per cent of the global demand for castor oil, has launched the World Castor Sustainability Forum (WCSF). This initiative aims to provide a sustainable and traceable supply chain of castor while improving economic, social, and environmental performance.

BV Mehta, Executive Director of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), said the association spearheaded the formation of WCSF in response to the global shift towards renewable resources and the increasing emphasis on sustainability. This initiative is poised to enhance economic self-sufficiency and the livelihoods of smallholder producers.

Key players in the castor industry, including Adani Wilmar Ltd, Jayant Agro Organics Ltd, Gokul Overseas, Gokul Agro Resources Ltd, Royal Castor Products Ltd, N K Proteins Pvt Ltd, Castorgirnar Industries, along with traders, and service provider representatives joined WCSF in Ahmedabad on May 1. Leading international buyers of castor oil have also expressed their interest in promoting sustainable castor oil by joining WCSF.

He said the companies that embrace WCSF sustainability measures in line with the Indian Companies Act can experience improved brand reputation, competitive advantage, cost savings, access to capital, regulatory compliance, risk management, and long-term value creation.

30 FPOs to collaborate

To promote the cultivation of sustainable castorseed, nearly 30 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), led by Gokul Overseas, Sidhpur, agreed to collaborate with WCSF on April 30. This collaboration represents approximately 25,000 farmers joining the movement in its inaugural year, committed to adopting the guidelines set forth by WCSF.

Stating that the launch of WCSF marks a new era of collaboration and transformation in the castor sector, Mehta said: “Together, we aim to redefine industry norms, drive meaningful change, and create a future where castor production thrives in harmony with nature and society. This is likely the first association in the country actively working to promote sustainability practices, aiming to lead in the global sustainability movement.”

WCSF aspires to become the foremost model of excellence in the castor supply chain, emphasising environmental responsibility, social accountability, and economic viability, he added.

India’s export of castor oil and derivatives are estimated above ₹12,000 crore ($1.5 billion) per annum. The global castor derivatives market, which is estimated to be over $4 billion per annum, is highly dependent on India.