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Republic of Congo

Olam’s operations in the Republic of Congo began with its acquisition in 2011, of Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB), the largest logging company in the country and one of Central Africa’s major forestry and wood processing operations. Today, we operate three large forest management concessions and two processing operations.  We also have two processing operations: the main processing facility is in Pokola which is in the Sangha province, while the smaller operation is in Loundoungou in Likouala province. We have developed an innovative social mapping project that allows communities living in our forests to actively participate in forest resource management.

Our forest management concessions cover about 1.4 million hectares, each obtained under long-term lease agreements and all managed according to the highest standards of Sustainable Forest Management. We have FSC® certification for about 1.3 million hectares, while the remaining 92,000 hectares are preserved as standing forest under REDD+.  Logs are selectively harvested on an annual basis over three separate harvesting phases. Harvested logs not directly exported are processed locally in our own mills, drying kilns and moulding factory.

REDD+ Programme

With the Republic of Congo, we also operate a pioneering REDD+ initiative to realise value from the standing forest (92,530 hectares) in our Pikounda Nord concession which is located in the Sangha region in the heart of the Congo River Basin.  The objective of this pilot initiative is to generate alternative revenues from sustainably managed forest landscapes by valuing the forest as a carbon sink and to originate carbon credits for the pre-compliance Voluntary Carbon market. This market is considered best practice and recognised by the global carbon community as able to generate solid and marketable credits. Read more here.

Forest Carbon Partnership Facility

In addition to the Pikounda Nord REDD+ Programme, CIB is partnering with the Republic of Congo on a proposal to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), which became operational in June 2008, is a global partnership focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, forest carbon stock conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+). The FCPF has 44 REDD Country Participants (17 in Africa, 16 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 11 in Asia-Pacific). The World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme are delivery partners under the Readiness Fund and are responsible for providing REDD+ readiness support services to distinct countries.

In 2014 the proposal put forward by the Republic of Congo in partnership with Olam, was accepted.  The World Bank is now providing funding for the full development of the programme proposal, and once implemented and the emissions verified, will purchase a number of carbon credits. Read more here.

Supporting indigenous communities and employees

We have piloted a ground breaking process to ensure the involvement of indigenous people in our forest management initiatives. With the support of The Forest Trust and Fondation Chirac, Biso  na Biso (meaning ‘Between Us’) was the first community radio station to broadcast in local languages across the Congo Basin.  Since 2007, it has enabled CIB and Pygmy communities to share information and ensure that social, cultural and religious needs are respected. CIB also worked with the communities to GPS map sacred trees and groves, and valuable living areas.

Given that our operations are in a very remote area, we have invested in infrastructure to ensure the wellbeing of our 800 employees which also benefits the surrounding indigenous communities. This includes building modern housing, schools, hospitals, sports fields and even a television station. Read more about our health provision here where in 2013 our hospital and health centres received 29,000 patients.

As part of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) programme, we are supporting the Government to revive cocoa growing areas on degraded or already deforested land around our concessions by supplying communities with about 1.4 million cocoa saplings from our nursery. This will progressively move to other areas. This programme is fully funded by the Republic of Congo Government with Olam as the implementation partner.

Olam Congo SARL

Congolaise Industrielle des Bois
BP 41
Ouesso, RC
T: (+242) 0 6900 1430