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Tackling deforestation & building resilience to climate change

Increasing climate temperatures can have a significant impact on coffee production. Equally, as with some other supply chains in emerging markets, low incomes among smallholder coffee growers can mean that they encroach into forest to grow more coffee to increase yields.

Olam Coffee therefore focuses on a number of areas to both help smallholders mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These include training smallholders how to improve Good Agricultural Practices to alleviate the environmental stress of higher temperatures. Some of the actions include mulching, planting shade trees under which the coffee can grow, and planting leguminous trees (i.e., Erythrina edulis, or Inga spuria) which fix nitrogen, increasing its levels and reducing the needs of inorganic fertilisers.

Several Olam projects are contributing to climate resilience and preventing deforestation through sustainability projects and certified or verified sourcing. Olam works with partners in various countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Peru, to support climate change resilient communities. For instance, Olam is supporting a reforestation project in the Sunda Hejo region aimed to preserve the Indonesian forest while generating a stable income for farmers. Over 1,000 smallholders cultivate small forest plots of about 2 hectares each, planting more than 100,000 trees over 2 years (30,000 currently planted).

In Vietnam, Olam supports more than 1,200 farmers to achieve long-term profitability of coffee production through the promotion of climate change resilient production systems and diversification of farmers’ incomes. In Peru, the establishment of at least 30,000 native forest species will provide 40% of shade coverage in the coffee crops, stabilising the soil, and minimising the impact on climate. Olam certified volumes, such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Organic, and 4C, follow the rigorous environmental policies and sustainable farm management. Moreover, we have rolled out the Olam Supplier Code to the majority of our suppliers, which includes compliance with national and local environmental regulations.

Further to our activities, Olam has become an active member of the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), which is is the leading facilitator of the coffee sector’s journey towards sustainability. After listening to producers, governments, NGOs, and stakeholders in the coffee value chain, GCP identified 3 critical threats to the coffee sector: Economic Viability of Farming, Climate Smart Agriculture, and Gender and Youth. Each area is addressed through a Collective Action Network. For instance, Climate Smart Agriculture facilitates, aligns, and drives industry’s actions to improve climate smart farming thus adapting and building more resilient communities. For more information about this multi-stakeholder approach visit www.globalcoffeeplatform.org/about/overview.

For additional information about how we are working with the industry through GCP or Olam’s Sustainability activities, please contact Coffee.CRS@olamnet.com .