National, 21 March 2022: Industree Foundation has partnered with HSBC India to create sustainable livelihoods for rural women producers. There are over 200 million artisans, of whom about 63% are self-employed. However, there are huge gaps in the supply chain such as creative inputs conducive to modern markets, digital curation, safe environments to work in, etc. There is also a growing demand for sustainable consumption from aware consumers.
Studies reveal COVID-19 has only accelerated this problem. 230 million jobs were lost, and women disproportionately affected. While majority of men were back to work before the second wave, a large proportion of women continued to remain unemployed.
Along with economic vulnerability, marginalized populations are also more susceptible to the impacts of climate change. According to the recent UN panel report on climate change, 40% of the world’s population is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
To address this, Industree Foundation is devoted to creating livelihoods for rural women producers, to work in sustainable supply chains. One of their key partnerships, with HSBC India and Dasra, involves working with sustainable value chains that utilize materials such as banana bark, non-timber forest fibers such as bamboo, and more, to make tableware, storage, décor products, and accessories. Since the crop is grown and sourced locally, it enables vulnerable women to pursue their future with dignity and be empowered in their communities through creating safe spaces of employment.
Neelam Chibber, Co-founder and Managing Trustee at Industree Foundation, said, “Our vision is to enable millions of women in India to be economically empowered, and to improve health, nutrition, and education situations within the household. Social empowerment is best backed by economic empowerment. Through partnerships like these with HSBC India and other players in the value chain, we were able to support women in the creative manufacturing sector even during the pandemic.
Aloka Majumdar, Head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC India, said, “HSBC’s focus has been on supporting initiatives that keep sustainability, gender and livelihoods as their key components. With the impact of COVID on rural livelihoods, we understand the need for a shift in enabling rural artisans to earn a dignified livelihood. The inspiration stems from our ideology to enhance capacities of rural and urban disadvantaged young women to improve their livelihood potential.”
Deval Sanghvi, Co-Founder, Dasra, said, “Dasra’s own learnings, especially from our work during the pandemic including the insights from this partnership, emphasize the need to support rural livelihoods. This partnership with Industree Foundation, who has decades of experience in the sector, and HSBC India, who has sustainability and livelihoods as its key priorities, has provided us with the opportunity to make a small impact on the lives of rural women producers.”