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Olam SECO cotton operation picked for global film

January 31, 2017

Olam’s cotton business in Côte d’Ivoire will be highlighted around the world after being chosen to support the launch of a global report on how business can work sustainably – and be successful.

A film of Société d’Exploitation Cotonnière Olam (SECO), a cotton operation in and around Ouangolo, was released on January 31 telling the story of the region’s transformation since 2008 when SECO started working with the cotton growing communities.

Focusing on the partnerships with smallholder farmers and villagers and on the ginning facilities, the film is linked to the publication of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission’s (BSDC) report ‘Better Business, Better World.’

It was launched in partnership with renowned business magazine The Economist. Their cameras visited Gnonziévogo to follow a farming community harvesting on their smallholding, saw farmers being trained in best practices and filmed a health caravan. A woman’s cooperative was also filmed in Korhogo aswell as the ginnery in Ouangolo.

The BSDC was set up to make the economic case for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which ultimately aim to end poverty and hunger, achieve gender equality and effectively tackle climate change by 2030.

The report showed that business can be profitable while ensuring it is ‘inclusive’ and sustainable. The authors estimate that those who help deliver the SDGs could access a share of US$12 trillion in business value. Read more here.

But business must forge new social contracts with government and society to regain trust, restore legitimacy and build a better world by 2030, the report says. The SECO programme was chosen for the film because it shows how companies can unlock value for itself and communities.

In 6 years, Olam has increased its smallholder network from 3,000 to 19,569, yields nearly doubled in the first season of full operation, and farmer annual revenues have risen from US$200 to US$1,200.

Olam’s Côte d’Ivoire Country Manager Partheeban Theodore said: “We were delighted to be featured in this film and it is a big thank you to the farmer suppliers – we have built good working relationships to help each other. I hope this inspires other companies to show how they too can work with communities for the common good. It is a win-win situation.”

Watch the film here.