"Sustainability is emerging as a guiding principle of procurement among large corporates and the size of ethical consumer base is expanding. Women entrepreneurs and MSMEs stand to benefit from this growing demand for sustainable brands or products. There are around 95 million consumers across parts of Europe, including UK, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Germany looking for sustainable products in home décor, fashion, corporate gifting and textile segments. The size of the corporate procurement is estimated to be one trillion dollar industry with US corporate gifting estimated to reach over USD 312 billion by 2025 and the UK corporate gifting market already valued at USD 78 million. Companies are increasingly looking to procure from suppliers adhering to sustainability standards to meet their Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) goals,” said Ms. Rupa Ganguli, Founder & CEO, Inclusive Trade Ltd, London, UK at a workshop on 'Promoting MSMEs and Women Entrepreneurs through Sustainability in Global Markets'. The workshop was jointly organized by MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai, All India Association of Industries and Inclusive Trade Ltd, London.

Ms. Ganguli further mentioned, “We are keen to launch our sustainability verification system on a pilot basis in India to support at least 1,500 MSMEs and women entrepreneurs so that they can meet this growing demand for sustainable products."

Ms. Ganguli's Inclusive Trade Ltd. has developed a self-assessment sustainability toolkit backed by United Nations SDGs. The first phase will verify business practices across key UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), viz. Gender Equality (Goal 5), Responsible Production and Consumption (Goal 12) and Climate Action (Goal 13). Inclusive Trade Ltd. is the recipient of the Small Business Champion Award 2022, which is a joint initiative of WTO, ITC (Geneva) and the International Chamber of Commerce (Paris).

Ms. Ganguli advised Indian MSMEs to capture data on the impact of their business process on promoting women's livelihood, reducing carbon emission, waste management, energy conservation and other sustainability goals.

"Our methodology aims to eliminate unsubstantiated claims about sustainability (a phenomenon known as 'greenwashing') and enable trust between consumers and brands globally. A certified B Corporation since November 2021, Inclusive Trade Ltd has had an impact on 4500 beneficiaries globally by supporting MSMEs to profile their products and prove their impact. We intend to verify sustainability claims for 1,500 MSMEs in the next 18 months through this pilot phase to develop gold standard peer metrics."

This was the first workshop conducted by Inclusive Trade Ltd. in India and the firm plans to partner with WTC Mumbai to enable MSMEs and women entrepreneurs to benefit from this sustainability toolkit and further aims to connect with European corporate buyers.

The workshop focused on the critical importance of joining the pilot study to identify, measure and substantiate sustainable business practices and Inclusive Trade's internationally recognised award-winning self-assessment methodology and its benefits for participants in becoming part of the global corporate value chain.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Ajoykaant Ruia, Vice Chairman, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai pointed out the potential of women entrepreneurs to promote sustainable development goals by adhering to green business practices.

Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, WTC Mumbai proposed vote of thanks for the event. Ms. Naik reaffirmed the commitment of WTC Mumbai to promote adoption of UN Sustainable Development Goals by MSMEs and women owned enterprises in the country.