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Solar drying cocoa in the Ivory Coast


We are strongly involved in many long-term sustainability initiatives, either Olam led or in partnerships within many of the countries in which we operate. We are able to source both traceable and certified beans and have numerous Organic, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance programmes as well as having initiatives in the award-winning Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC).

Our sustainability programmes started in 2003/04 in Indonesia through a joint project with The Blommer Chocolate Co., with whom we now have a joint venture, GrowCocoa that formalises our shared cocoa sustainability vision. Olam is also a founding member of CocoaAction, which aims to align the sustainability programmes of the 10 leading cocoa and confectionery companies.

In 2014, our OLC cocoa initiatives supported over 125,000 cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ecuador, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea:

  • 111,800 farmers trained in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • 98,851 farmers trained in Good Labour Practices
  • 3.96 million cocoa seedlings distributed.
  • US$110.00 million in short-term financing.

Our numerous global initiatives include Cocoa Revolution, which was launched in Indonesia in 2015 with Rainforest Alliance, Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) and is part funded by the Millennium Challenge Account Indonesia (MCAI).  Our case study here details the landscape approach we take to help Indonesian farmers improve yields and incomes, while at the same time improving environmental and safety standards. This case study with Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life programme demonstrates how we work with our customers to scale up efforts.

In 2011, we created the world’s first climate-smart verified cocoa in partnership with Rainforest Alliance in Ghana. Climate-smart land use practices aim to stop deforestation, protect and improve the existing ecosystem and reduce greenhouse gases. Read more in this case study by Landscapes for People, Food and Nature and in this blog by Rainforest Alliance manager Martin Noponen.

In July 2015, we launched the Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS), a technical solution for collecting, analysing and then utilising farm gate level data. This data generates individual farm management plans, which can then, for example, recommend the exact amount of fertiliser to apply, and give farmers guidance on when to apply pesticide based on historic records of disease etc., thereby saving costs and increasing yields and revenue.