French cosmetics and beauty company L’Oreal has joined forces with Solvay, a global player in guar derivatives, to launch a three-year project to educate on sustainable agricultural practices among guar bean farmers across the desert region of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India.
Focusing on 1,500 farmers, Solvay’s ‘Sustainable Guar Initiative’ scheme is said to empower farmers with the tools and knowledge to cultivate the guar crop through successful agricultural processes, in turn resulting in more continuous high-yield production. Guar is the main resource for many farming communities, however, due to the monsoon rains, its production is volatile.
The scheme was launched in 2013 by Solvay’s Novecare Global Business Unit as part of the company’s sustainable development strategy Solvay Way. It is also implemented by non-governmental organisation TechnoServe.
Emmanuel Butstraen, President of Solvay Novecare and sponsor of the ‘Sustainable Guar Initiative’, said, “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.”
Guar is used as an ingredient in products from many industries including cosmetics, with Solvay supplying its customers with guar derivatives. Growing in India’s semi-arid regions, the country is the leading supplier of the product, creating around 80 percent of its overall production. There is an increased demand for the ingredient across a range of industries.
Laurent Gilbert, Director for International Development of Advanced Research at L’Oreal, said, “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.”