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Engaging stakeholders to re-imagine agriculture

Olam has a vast global network of stakeholders: customers, farmer suppliers and their communities, investors, employees, NGOs, financiers, foundations, trade bodies, industry platforms and governments. Business units, functions and country teams interact with them every day.

As an agricultural company, how we manage social and environmental issues are common questions from across the stakeholder spectrum. We have a dedicated Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) Function, as well as sustainability experts embedded in businesses across the world. Achieving our CR&S ambition to be a net positive company requires the support of stakeholders in strategic alliances and partnerships to catalyse system change together.

We consult on a regular basis on policy consultation, (e.g. the Living Landscapes Policy), on implementation of High Conservation Value (HCV) and Free Prior & Informed Consent Procedures (FPIC), through stakeholder events, or in response to reports and questions. By listening and discussing issues together we share understanding of our business, learn, and often find opportunities for partnerships.

The vast majority of our stakeholders want to achieve the same outcomes as Olam – profitable farms and farming systems, thriving rural communities and regeneration of the living world – even if we don’t always necessarily agree on the exact way forward. Throughout this report we have aimed to transparently cover notable engagements and stakeholder concerns in the last year. A tabular overview of our stakeholder engagement is available in our 2017 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report on

In 2017, we also undertook more detailed mapping and prioritisation of our stakeholders at an international and national level, to understand how we could better communicate and manage relationships. This activity will be continued in 2018, working with individual Business Units, Countries and Functions.

Sustainability Strategy and Materiality

During 2017 we began a review of the over-arching sustainability strategy. This was brought into sharper focus with the launch of the new purpose: Re-imagining Global Agriculture : Growing Responsibly.

We recognised that we needed to better align our material areas with the 9 planetary boundaries, as well as consider the Capitals under integrated reporting. In addition, we must also consider the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Global Compact, stakeholder priorities, reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative and, of course, individual Business Unit priorities. The learnings and stakeholder feedback from the development of Olam AtSource and the Olam Landscapes Policy have also had considerable influence. See the Group CEO Review for an overview of new CR&S framework with 10 Material Areas which were developed in 2018.

Reporting against the current 7 Material Area goals and targets are listed under the Relevant Capitals as follows:

  • Social: Livelihoods, Food Security
  • Natural: Land, Water, and Climate Change
  • Human: Labour
  • Manufactured: Food Safety (owned by Manufacturing & Technical Services)

Additional CR&S priorities during 2018

  • Olam Supplier Code: train Business Units on new topics, implement revised risk-based processes and embed AtSource supply chain assessment across businesses
  • Olam Plantations, Concessions and Farms Code: review to include new material areas, develop/ implement action plans and report on progress
  • Olam Landscapes Policy: establish advisory group, continue to assess deforestation risk for priority products and regions, mapping high risk suppliers
  • Accelerate impact of Business Unit-wise CR&S strategies with 2030 targets and milestones

Mapping SDG targets material to Olam’s business

As part of the CR&S strategy refresh, and analysis of our current material areas, we have also reviewed the specific targets of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Of the 167 targets, we identified around 55 (allowing for some overlaps) that are material to our business to a greater or lesser degree. We have then assessed them against our ability to influence the target as well as stakeholder priority. We have also started to look at the targets in terms of identifying opportunities to innovate and lead. This process will feed into our continuing work on our refreshed CR&S framework for 2018 onwards. Our Global Reporting Initiative report on also gives insight and analysis of our material areas grouped according to the appropriate GRI topic.