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Olam Livelihood Charter

Gradually transforming communities year-on-year

Olam’s buying network is vast. We directly source crops like cocoa and coffee from farmers based in developing countries who face inter-related challenges including low yields, low incomes, limited commercial skills and poor health. Supporting as many farmers as we can is not only the right thing to do, but makes business sense: if farmers grow more, at a better quality, we continue to satisfy customer demand for sustainable products.

Now in its sixth year, the Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC) identifies holistic factors that impact productivity both within and beyond the farmgate. The Charter’s 8 Principles tackle economic, environmental and social challenges including business management, empowering women, reducing child labour and building resilience to climate change.

Partnering for scale

While the OLC is our flagship sustainability initiative, thousands of other farmers are also benefiting from various levels of support. Some programmes may be on their way to achieving OLC status, some communities may not require all 8 Principles and, in others, the business case may not be feasible for a full OLC programme which requires significant investment, not least in staff. This is why collaboration with partners is so important if we are to achieve further scale. In 2016, over 30 customer, NGO, certification, trade, foundation and development organisation partners are helping us to deliver 44 initiatives. Together, we are sharing expertise and resources to help deliver our sustainability strategy. In turn, this will help deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and lift communities out of poverty.

OLC – Charter Principles

Only by fulfilling the requirements of all 8 Principles can a sustainability programme achieve OLC status.

1. Finance
We offer farmer groups finance for crop production and asset investments.

2. Improved Yield
We invest in training and support farmers with the supply of inputs such as fertiliser, seeds or seedlings.

3. Labour Practices 
We train farmers on health and safety, gender inclusion, the elimination of child labour and farming as a business.

4. Market Access 
We offer farmers a fair and competitive price. By remaining on the ground throughout the entire crop season, farmers come to see us as a reliable partner.

5. Quality
We encourage farmers to produce good quality crops by enhancing value to farmers and our customers through paying premiums.

6. Traceability
We ensure products can be tracked to source and certified where required.

7. Social Investment
We support rural health, education and infrastructure to strengthen the potential of farming communities.

8. Environmental Impact
We are reducing our overall environmental footprint by training farmers on Climate-Smart Agricultural practices to increase productivity, improve soil, water and forest management.