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Taking a precautionary approach – due diligence in land development

Any land development by Olam is subject to the Olam Plantations, Concessions and Farms Code and the relevant industry best practice certification standard (e.g. RSPO or FSC®), where applicable to the products we are involved in.

For example, in Gabon in 2015, we undertook a full third party verified Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for 25,400 hectares in order to identify about 12,700 hectares suitable for planting oil palm in 2016. In doing so, we became the first company globally to complete a High Conservation Value assessment according to the HCV Resource Network System. Their mission is to “identify, maintain and enhance critically important ecological, social and cultural values, by bringing together and helping stakeholders to consistently use the High Conservation Value approach”. Like all of Olam Palm’s HCV assessments, this is a public document available here.

This area has completed 30 days’ public consultation under the RSPO’s New Plantings Procedures and, like all of Olam’s other palm plantation areas in Gabon, will be eligible for RSPO certification once production starts. Our first site, the Awala plantation and mill, will undergo audit certification in 2016. Our overall policy is for 100% compliance with RSPO in our own plantations.

Natural Capital Coalition

Globally, natural resources and eco-systems are often used in an irresponsible and unsustainable manner. To support the delivery of Olam’s core purpose of ‘Growing Responsibly’ we joined the Natural Capital Coalition (NCC) with members from business, accountancy, consultancy, academia and government with the aim of providing a standardised protocol to measure and value direct and indirect impacts and dependencies on natural capital.

During 2015, as one of the business  engagement partners, we participated in the development and subsequent road-testing of the Natural Capital protocol (NCP) and its Food and Beverage Sector Guidance to ensure it was fit for purpose in practice. Going forward we will look to use the NCP as a tool to improve our risk management, increase competitive advantage, and deliver comparable and balanced reporting, but essentially we intend to use it to enhance our business decision-making around the use of and impact on natural capital.

Next section: Community rights and land tenure