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Olam endeavours to generate economic prosperity, contribute positively to social welfare and manage our stewardship of the environment in a sustainable way, so as to assure the creation of long-term value for all.

In this section we cover:

Understanding the context in which we operate

Perhaps more than any other sector, agriculture faces huge sustainability challenges that are interlocked and complex. At a global scale, our operations and those of our suppliers are at risk of climate change, poor soil quality, water scarcity and energy security. And as the global population is set to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 according to the UN, the risk of further depleting our natural resources to ensure global food security adds additional challenges.

While to many in the developed world, these issues can feel somewhat removed from daily life, it is far from so in the emerging markets holding much of our operational footprint. We source from a network of 4 million smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia and South America, where due to stretched government resources, they usually have limited education and healthcare, little agri training and their yields and incomes are far lower than they could be. We therefore seek to support as many as we can to improve yields and incomes. We call this ‘Unlocking Mutual Value’.

Our approach to sustainability

It is fair to say that in our very early years, providing sustainable solutions to these immense challenges were not high on our agenda.

However, as we have matured, we see our responsibility in helping to overcome them. Yet, as a commercial company, with investors to answer to and employees to pay, we have always maintained that our sustainability activities must make business sense, if not in the short-term then certainly in the long-term. In this way, we also ensure that our approach is structured, targeted and inclusive, avoiding the risk of abandoning initiatives (and people) mid flow.

Next section: Strategy – Growing Responsibly, Sustainability Vision and Principles 

How our sustainability thinking developed