Responsible governance runs through Olam at every level, from our Board and our Executive Committee, to all levels of management as a foundation of our success. Good governance is a foundation of our business and is strongly embedded in our management culture. This means ensuring we are growing responsibly, while maintaining our focus on the external factors that are affecting our business and the opportunities they present.
We believe our corporate governance journey is one of continuous collaboration between the members of the Board and the Management team to ensure continuous improvement in our governance systems in order that they meet the requirements of a rapidly growing organisation.
Olam is a diversified global company with operations in 65 countries, across 16 platforms and employing 23,000 people. We are responsible to our shareholders for managing our business for their benefit, as well as that of our customers, partners, employees and the communities in which we operate. This necessitates an integral system of checks and balances that will ensure transparency of decision-making and a high level of integrity in the way we deal with all our stakeholders.
Role of the Governance and Nomination Committee
The role of the Committee is to ensure we observe a high standard of corporate governance that is in keeping with our overarching philosophy of delivering consistent financial performance with integrity. To this end we strongly support the principles of openness, integrity and accountability, as set out in the Code of Corporate Governance and we have already implemented a number of initiatives in advance of the recommendations in the 2012 Code. To date, we have acted to ensure that more than 50% of our Board Members are Independent and we have conducted a rigorous review of the independence of each member under expert legal advice. This has included the establishment of a Board Risk committee and a Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Committee since the listing of the Company, as well as the appointment of a Lead Independent Director. We recognise and value the importance of Board and individual member evaluation, not simply because it represents good corporate governance practices, but it can be a valuable process in improving Board performance and in ensuring the effectiveness of the Board to lead and control the Company. We follow a rigorous Board and individual member evaluation process conducted annually. In our annual Board and individual member evaluation exercise, the ability of the Directors to objectively discharge their duties and responsibilities at all times, as well as the ability to objectively listen and discuss issues with one another, are important assessment criteria.
Benchmarking our performance
We believe that benchmarking our Corporate Governance is not about scoring and ranking, but how well we have integrated our governance processes within our business and operations. The success of this is borne out by our success as a whole and the recognition of our peers. This was highlighted by our award as the Best Managed Board (Gold) for companies with market capitalisation of S$1 billion and above at the Singapore Corporate Awards 2011.
Olam was also amongst the top three mainboard-listed companies in the 2011 ST Resources Governance Index (RGI), which measures corporate governance performance based on indicators of ethical culture and transparency.