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Meeting reporting needs

Following the launch of the FY14 CR&S Report “Connectivity in the Landscape” we issued a detailed survey.

Survey feedback and learnings

  • 94% of respondents felt that the report had clearly identified material issues for Olam and its key stakeholders;
  • 87% of respondents felt adequately informed of Olam’s sustainability practices;
  • 73% of respondents felt that the report communicated Olam’s sustainability performance very clearly;
  • 67% of respondents felt that Olam’s aspirations and timelines for commitments were easy to understand;

The highest rated section of the report was the ‘CEO Spotlight’, and the lowest rated was the ‘collaborating for wider impact’ section.

The question, “What would help improve the report?” received thoughtful and valuable feedback. While there were idiosyncrasies in each, there were recurrent themes:


Several respondents felt that more detail would improve the report, feeling that in places it was too “anecdotal”. Several said that the report would benefit from additional insight from wider stakeholders. Some respondents felt that, while the report was transparent, it would be improved by displaying and discussing problems that Olam are facing and that there could be “more openness” about failures and the difficulties in some areas of the business.


In contrast to those who thought more detail was required, others remarked the report as being “too long”, and suggested that it might be good to use “simpler language”. There were several comments on the font, with three people stating that the font size needed to increase. It was suggested that future reports be available online-only and with an executive summary. Respondents also felt the report could benefit from more graphics and visuals.

Based on this feedback we have therefore launched our first online Sustainability Report, allowing us to provide more detail for those who want to see it.  It allows us to demonstrate far more easily the interconnectivity across our business and bring forth some of the colleagues responsible for delivering on our strategy.

This year our report contains Standard Disclosures from the GRI (G4) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. In addition, we have followed, as far as possible, the structure of the Global Reporting Initiative G4 ‘in accordance with’ process. The GRI table in the ‘How we Report’ section within this Report, indicates where we have been able to report fully against material Aspect indicators and where only partially due to internal structures of data collection.

Finally, we believe that much of the content in this report better explains our challenges than some of our standard web copy – we have noted that sustainability analysts reviewing our business just on the basis of external information have not always given us the scores we felt we deserved!  We will therefore look to transfer key elements on our strategy, approach and positions on issues to the main site.

All comments on this report are welcome, please email:

Next section: Beauty in the beans – the importance of customer visits to origin