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Sustainability

Farmer Suppliers

Olam’s heritage can be traced back to small-scale supply chains in Africa, originally working with cashew farmers in Nigeria. Today our farmer supply chain incorporates both small-scale farmers within emerging economies and our large-scale farmers that supply direct into our processing facilities in America, Argentina and Australia. Our total network is approximately 4 million farmers, the vast majority of whom are smallholders.

We actively pursue long-term relationships with suppliers based on responsible business practices and trust. In 2013 we began the roll-out of the Olam Supplier Code to priority products in key origins. The Code provides a comprehensive set of conditions to support Olam’s goal to purchase raw materials and products that are produced in a manner that is socially responsible, economically profitable and environmentally sustainable, establishing the standard to which all suppliers of Olam raw materials and products shall adhere. It demands that suppliers:

  • Commit to corporate governance and integrity
  • Guarantee the quality of goods and services they supply
  • Uphold labour standards and human rights
  • Respect the natural environment
  • Conduct their business in a way that honours local communities
  • Ensure compliance

At the end of 2015, 30% of all tonnage was under the Supplier Code.  Read more about our progress in the 2015 CR&S Report.

Small-scale farmers

Of the 4 million farmers in our supply chain, the majority are smallholders in rural regions of developing countries. Olam does not have the capacity to reach all directly, but nearly 1 million farmers receive some support to improve their productivity and income. The Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC) provides a formal framework to our approach and is based on 8 Principles that cover financing, increasing yields, better labour practices, facilitating market access, improving quality, increasing traceability, investing in social development and safeguarding the environment. While all 8 Principles must be addressed for a programme to be included within the OLC, Olam applies and adapts the Principles depending on the social, economic and environmental needs of each local context.

For more information:

Large-scale farmers

There are around 20,000 large-scale contract farmers in our supply chains, growing crops such as tomatoes, onions and peanuts. We work closely with them to reduce environmental impacts and maintain eco-systems.

Key sustainable agricultural approaches include:

  • Water: ‘More crop per drop’ – the majority of farmers have switched to drip irrigation. Water application is applied automatically based on probe sensors determining moisture levels within the soil.
  • Carbon: Tractors and machinery have all moved to reduced emissions Tier III engines. The number of field operations has been reduced by developing wider cultivation beds. Increasing production closer to the processing plants to reduce energy
  • Fertiliser: Significantly reduced due to targeted application as a liquid through drip irrigation facilities
  • Pesticide use: Farmers must professionally manage agri-chemical application and forbid the usage of agri-chemicals that are not legally registered in the country for commercial use, or which are excluded as per Olam’s specification.
  • Signing the Olam Supplier Code

For more information: