We are headquartered in the UK with offices in India, but our client base is global. We have worked with governments across 4 continents and global companies and investors, advising on both international and project level strategies. Our network is made up of governmental institutions, multilateral organisations, leading sustainability research organisations and advocacy groups. This is essential in understanding large, complex projects that influence a whole range of stakeholders.
International Labour Organisation: Rajasthan Natural Stone Strategy
The aim of the project was to understand Rajasthan’s, and more broadly India’s, natural stone market. The purpose was to get buy-in from international buyers and Rajasthan’s government in considering Rajasthan’s natural stone sector as an industry - from the mine to the processing units, rather than separate entities. The purpose of TOS’ research was to understand the state of the industry through in-depth research and primary interviews, to convince stakeholders to address informality and working conditions in the industry.
Our staff were responsible for analysing fieldwork, identifying opportunities and constraints of the natural stone value chain at state, national and international level in India. The findings from this analysis were validated through semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders from the government, industry, trade unions and international buyers. A round table event was then used to consolidate the opinions of the stakeholders and achieve buy in to an up gradation strategy which was subsequently developed by TOS and presented by the industry to international buyers in an international conference.
Marshalls: Sustainability and the future market for natural stone
TOS developed a set of four challenging, relevant, and plausible scenario stories to describe four possible future worlds in 2041. The scenarios examined how the supply and demand for natural stone in hard landscaping could be impacted by factors related to sustainability. The project involved stakeholders from within and outside of Marshalls, ranging from architects to extinction rebellion strategists to chairmen of National Oil Companies, ex-foreign secretaries, leading ESG voices in the natural resources space, sustainability leaders in other sectors, workshops with a core team, and findings from an extensive literature review. The project consolidated the diversity of opinions and signals of the future around a set of plausible scenarios that explored how sustainability will impact Marshalls.
TOS utilised experience and understanding demonstrated by the Managing Director being part of the faculty teaching Scenario Planning at Said Business School at the University of Oxford. This project followed the Oxford Scenario Planning Approach as a tool to rigorously work through the turbulence, uncertainty, novelty, and ambiguity of the future. Open-ended interviews were conducted with a range of stakeholders in the natural stone industry, members of the Executive Committee at Marshalls and those working on issues related to natural stone and wider sustainability. These discussions alongside a literature review, were used to collate a series of driving forces that were interrogated in workshops with a core team of Marshalls and external experts. The potential divergences within each of the driving forces and how they will combine were then interrogated in a further workshop.
International Labour Organisation: Sustainable Food Processing
This project is part of the ILO agenda to Promote Sustainable Enterprises in India, supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency. The project aims to upgrade and enhance sectoral competitiveness of food processing (especially fruit pulp and fisheries) in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to increase these sectors’ integration into the global supply chain. The evidence generated as part of the project will aid in designing interventions geared towards strengthening partnerships between market players in the sectoral value chain (including lead buyers, input and service providers, intermediaries), government programmes and other institutions in the state business development and extension services, financial institutions and labour intermediation agents. The analyses will help to better understand sectoral dynamics as well as to identify the key constraints in their supporting functions (including skills and training, access to business and financial services) and rules and regulations.
The TOS team is solely tasked with analysing the current functioning of the value chain, identifying new products and markets in terms of linkage to domestic and international lead buyers / brands / labels a well as exports. Additionally, the project is tasked with identifying priority constraints limiting the growth of the sector and opportunities to expand market share. An upgradation strategy is developed for the value chains. This is completed through desk-based research, telephonic interviews and on the ground interviews as well as a round table validation session.
Government of Australia: Opportunities, Risks and Governance for Deep Sea Mining in India’s EEZ and CIOB
Achieving a transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to an economy powered by green electrons and green molecules will require a large quantity of specialised minerals. The decoupling of economic growth and climate is reliant on specialised minerals for energy generation and storage. Currently mineral supply is concentrated in a few geographical locations and countries leaving the green transition hostage to geopolitics.
The Indo-Pacific Ocean is host to substantial quantities of specialised minerals, with deep-sea deposits exceeding the global terrestrial reserve base of several key metals. The Deep Sea, therefore, presents a substantial opportunity to secure and diversify supply of critical minerals required for the energy transition. To take advantage of this opportunity, the technology, and operations of mining in the deep sea (DSM) is an increasing focus of both governments and companies.
The National Institute of Ocean Technology, an Indian institute, is developing technology to extract the deposits from the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB). The Government of India is exploring the potential of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the CIOB for the extraction of ocean resources for economic growth under their push to develop a blue economy. However, alongside this substantial opportunity to increase energy and resource security and spur economic development there are large risks inherent in extracting minerals from the seabed. Marine ecology risks, including biodiversity loss and pollution through waste and freshwater extraction, need to be rigorously understood. Governance systems need to be developed to codify if and under what conditions DSM will be permitted. Due to the nascent nature of DSM in the Indo-Pacific region we have a limited understanding of the economic opportunity, the marine ecology and social risks and undeveloped governance systems. This project will further our understanding of DSM in the Indo Pacific through a collaborative research partnership between an Indian think tank, Australian University, a global natural resources sustainability specialist and the engagement with countries who have learnt lessons from DSM.