Solvay, the Belgium-based manufacturer of specialty chemicals, and L'Oreal, the French cosmetics and beauty company, have teamed up in a scalable three-year project to teach and promote sustainable agricultural practices among 1,500 guar bean farmers across ten villages in the desert region of Bikaner, Rajasthan.
Solvay is one of the leading global players in guar derivatives and supplies its customers who formulate these ingredients in a variety of applications such as in food, cosmetics, oil & gas extraction and textile industries.
Grown mainly in India's semi-arid regions, guar is the main resource for many farming communities but its production is volatile as it relies on monsoon rains. Solvay's ‘Sustainable Guar Initiative’ aims to empower countless farmers with the tools and knowledge to cultivate the crop through good agricultural practices, resulting in more continuous, high-yield production. Solvay's Novecare global business unit (GBU) in 2013 launched the initiative, which is also implemented by non-governmental organisation TechnoServe, as part of the Group's sustainable development strategy Solvay Way.
"Solvay’s initiative and partnership with L'Oreal, acting as a founding member, brings many benefits - for farmer communities, their environment as well as for demanding industrial applications. The project will help farmers improve the use of water and preserve the soil, it will raise their income and support local communities. Our approach will also reinforce the availability of bio-based guar for industries and allow them to promote their ambitious sustainability goals,” said Emmanuel Butstraen, president of Solvay Novecare and sponsor of the ‘Sustainable Guar Initiative’.
India is the world's top guar producer with about 80 percent of total production. As a drought-resistant crop, guar conserves water resources and replenishes soil nutrients through nitrogen fixation. The seeds are processed to obtain guar gum. Demand for this ingredient is on the rise in a range of industries.
Laurent Gilbert, director for International Development of Advanced Research at L'Oreal, commented, "Our partnership with Solvay is a concrete implementation of our ‘Sharing Beauty with All’ sustainability commitment. By improving yields while promoting a suitable model of sustainable agriculture, we will improve the livelihood of farmers and protect local resources such as water, soil and biodiversity. This program will allow ensuring a durability of income for guar bean farmers while considering the impact of climate change into their activities.”