Sustainable Guar Initiative (SGI) is a pioneering program aiming at developing sustainable guar cultivation within the Bikaner district of Rajasthan, India. This desert district is one of the largest producers of guar in India and presents many climatic challenges: vulnerable farmers grow rain-fed guar in this arid climate.
Guar gum is extracted from guar seeds and can be used as such, or functionalized. It can be used as a bio-based thickening/conditioning agent in personal care applications.
SGI was designed by Solvay and implemented by the NGO TechnoServe with the intent to create an inclusive business model relying on climate-smart agriculture:
- Agronomy: enhancing sustainable practices for rain-fed guar production,
- Environment: groundwater-neutral approaches and best practices in guar farming, along with tree plantation,
- Social impact: gender approaches, women empowerment, nutrition, health & hygiene
- Market improvement: traceability, supply chain, cooperative and market access.
Since 2015, SGI has been deployed in 20 villages and enrolled more than 4,000 farmers including 20% of women.
To confirm and consolidate the relevance of the program and to identify potential improvement opportunities, an environmental and social Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been conducted, comparing the guar production before and after SGI.
On the environmental side, data collection on more 3000 farmers shows the changes in cultivation practices with benefits on Guar production yield with no demonstration of deterioration on the guar bean environmental footprint.
On the social side, SGI was used as a case study to structure social impact assessment methodology on smallholders and can be considered as a guiding document for future development in the complex matter of social life cycle assessment.
The presentation of this subject during the conference will highlight the methodology used for the social assessment of Guar cultivation in Rajasthan and will show the results with examples and illustrations.
An integrated approach of Social and Environmental LCA
See the poster :