Kavickumar MuruganathanKavickumar Muruganathan joins us today with remarkable experience in the agricultural industry, specifically in the paper and pulp industry, the natural rubber sector, and the palm oil industry. He engages in supply chain sustainability and compliance from a corporate perspective and currently heads the APAC division for Supply Chain Compliance at Neste. Kavickumar played an active role in the concerted boycott efforts on unsustainable products from errant companies that had resulted in forest fires and the regional haze in Singapore in 2014. The NGO-led effort was recognised as a national movement, and the residents have not witnessed forest fires and haze of that scale since then. The spur to inspire positive change and create equality in our food value chains motivates him to work continuously in the sector. He also regards that the current lopsided value distribution needs to be corrected to ensure that farmers also have sustainable livelihoods and are not mired in poverty cycles. Kavickumar believes that there is a lot of room for creating positive change in this industry through investments not only in monetary terms but also from strategy, knowledge, and technological perspectives. This definitely requires a many-hands-on-deck approach and he aspires to play a positive role in this process.
Having been the head of the Singapore Environment Council's (SEC) eco-certification unit, what would you say are some of the challenges that businesses face in ensuring sustainable production of products?
Two of your key areas of expertise are Sustainable Finance and ESG Risk. Could you tell us a little about both of these and how they can drive a significant change in the way companies can make a positive contribution to society?
How can the agrifood sector in low- and middle-income economies implement circular agriculture as part of an approach to facilitate the sustainability of the food system? What impact would it have on the environment?
What has your experience been like with traceability systems in the agroecosystem? What kind of difference is it making to smallholder livelihoods in different parts of the world?
One of the primary challenges for smallholder farmers seeking financial support is that they are often considered too small for institutional investors and too large for microfinance organizations. In addition, the risks involved in agriculture make it even more difficult for them to secure financial aid. Considering that these farmers are key to ensuring food security, how can this particular challenge be addressed?