Rice cultivation is a leading contributor to climate change, emitting 10% of all global man-made methane emissions. Methane is 72x more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, accounting for a significant proportion of the global warming we experience today.
Olam’s upstream presence has made us conscious of what it takes to produce rice. Alongside an extensive working infrastructure, we recognise our responsibility to operate sustainably, not just for us, but to drive value for all of our stakeholders. We also apply our scale to encourage our partners.
- Defining Solutions: We have partnered with UN Environment (UNEP) and IRRI on the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) as a governing member to define internationally accepted, scientific solutions to the climate impacts of rice agriculture. We have also assured this by guiding SRP to adopt more holistic standards including water use, land use, labour standards, GHG emissions, and reducing chemical inputs while maintaining yields.
- Pilot Projects: Olam has formed partnerships with national governmental and international organisations such as GIZ, the Thai Rice Department, and the NAMA facility, to implement pilot projects that verify solutions on the ground, before scaling up solutions. Our outgrowers’ project in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, has produced the world’s first sustainable rice, fully verified by a third party.
- Improve Livelihoods: To make a tangible impact on livelihoods, Olam has begun to move tested solutions to a larger scale, with targets to reach 35,000 farmers by 2023. Under the Olam Livelihood Charter, we also look for gaps in farmers’ communities to invest in public goods, such as improving the reach of our rice farm vocational training centre, distributing better inputs, and investing in farming communities in Nigeria.
In line with SDG17, Olam recognises the value of partnerships – the differentiation factor through working with partners with diverse strengths allows us to address global problems, and make changes that are larger than ourselves in order to grow profitably and responsibly, well into the future.