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Millions of people around the world depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. We believe in creating a fully sustainable cocoa supply chain and in building a framework of international policies and best practices that provide cocoa farmer communities with long-term, positive support. Cocoa accounts for an important, often sizeable percentage of the GDP of major producing origins and we work hand-in-hand with partners, customers, governments, NGOs, and through joint initiatives, to create and ensure that the conditions necessary for every person whose life revolves around cocoa production has the ability to prosper.

We manage one of the world’s largest cocoa sustainability footprints. This provides us the opportunity to leverage our on the ground strengths to enhance the livelihoods of farmers, their families, and their communities through well-founded sustainability initiatives. Our focus is on overall cocoa supply chain sustainability, on traceability to ensure supply chain integrity, and on reaching the goal for 100% of our directly sourced volumes to be traceable and sustainable by 2020.

More than 120 dedicated cocoa sustainability staff around the world support improved yields and livelihoods under our Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC) initiatives and we ensure our operations are transparent and open to independent, third party auditors such as Intertek and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to verify our OLC programmes, in accordance with its eight Principles.

Our activities further extend to numerous long-term sustainability initiatives, either Olam Cocoa led, through global joint efforts, or through partnerships in origin with Rainforest Alliance/UTZ, Fairtrade, Fairtrade USA and Organic Soil Association programmes running in concert with our own OLC initiatives.

In 2016 our 15 Cocoa OLC programmes reached 20,800 new farmers, including 4,000 new women farmers worldwide, bringing the total number of farmers touched by our cocoa sustainability programmes to 129,884, of which 13% are women. In addition to our focus on increasing yields and opening up alternative income sources for cocoa farmers, we are working with the Fair Labor Association and our peers to help eradicate child labour. Read more here.

Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS)

The Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS) is being used extensively by our cocoa business. As of Q2 2017 we have registered more than 93,303 farmers with 244,165 hectares covered. OFIS provides greater traceability and transparency for our sustainability partners and customers, allowing for direct access to farmer and origination information. Learn more about OFIS here.

Global Programme Activities

Our first Olam Cocoa sustainability initiative started in Indonesia in 2003/2004 through a joint venture project with The Blommer Chocolate Co., with whom we created GrowCocoa, which formalises our shared cocoa sustainability vision. Our programmes have since grown to span Africa, Asia and South America, supplying traceable, certified and sustainable cocoa beans and semi-finished cocoa products to the global cocoa and chocolate industries. We are also a founding member of CocoaActionwhich aims to align the sustainability programmes of the world’s leading cocoa and confectionery companies.

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 post by Rainforest Alliance manager Martin Noponen.

In 2015, Cocoa Revolution was launched in Indonesia with Rainforest Alliance, Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) and it is in part funded by the Millennium Challenge Account Indonesia (MCA-I). We are also a partner in the MCA-I Compact’s Green Prosperity project through which we are simultaneously targeting women farmers and Climate-Smart cocoa production. Our 2014 case study here details the overall landscape approach we take to help Indonesian farmers improve yields and incomes, while at the same time improving environmental and safety standards. An additional case study with Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life programme demonstrates how we work with our customers to scale up efforts.

We are strong believers in participating in industry associations, as we firmly support playing an active and collaborative role in industry-wide issues. Through our involvement and membership in organisations such as the World Cocoa Foundation, International Cocoa Initiative, Cocoa Association of Asia, European Cocoa Association and the Federation of Cocoa Commerce, we help shape global policies that improve cocoa farmer livelihoods.

Every year we are expanding on and improving the scope of our cocoa sustainability initiatives to support the farmers and farmer communities that make our business and that of the entire, global cocoa industry possible.