At Olam, we have put sustainability firmly at the heart of our business, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because there are clear business benefits. This will ensure that sustainability is never just a ‘nice to have’:
We need to:
- increase agricultural production for a growing population without over-extending the earth’s capacity to provide (Planetary Boundaries)
- satisfy increasing demand from customers and consumers who want to know the food and fibre they buy is ethically sourced
- ensure farmers and rural communities see farming and related activities as a viable future livelihood, particularly the younger generations
- reduce risks to our business, such as climate change and water scarcity
- inspire our employees by giving meaning to their work.
Our Corporate Responsibly & Sustainability (CR&S) framework was refreshed during 2017 and is aligned to our new Core Purpose also launched in 2017: Re-imagining Global Agriculture: Growing Responsibly
Why do we need to Re-imagine Global Agriculture?
Agriculture lies behind some of the world’s biggest development and environmental challenges. Millions of farmers, particularly smallholders, are living at subsistence levels, while natural resources such as soil and forests are being degraded or lost at an alarming rate. Meanwhile around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted.
Certainly with another 2 billion people by 2050 we cannot carry on the way we are.
Tackling these issues is a huge task as no issue is isolated. For example, deforestation is often bound up with low yields and poverty.
Equally, while many companies like Olam have sustainability programmes in place, we must go beyond what is currently being achieved today and achieve far greater impact at far greater scale. We need to ‘Re-imagine Global Agriculture’ so that we are actually putting more back into food and farming systems than is taken out. We call this having a ‘net positive impact’ by creating ‘living landscapes’.
To achieve this our Purpose has 3 focus areas:
- Prosperous farmers and farming systems: Re-thinking how people and companies are financially rewarded to make the agricultural sector attractive and viable
- Thriving communities: Revitalising communities who depend on agricultural systems so that people live well
- Re-generation of the living world: Re-generating ecosystems, soils and water to create landscapes where industrial agriculture, smallholders and other rural commerce
What do we mean by Growing Responsibly?
Conducting our business in an ethical, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner has been part of Olam’s ongoing strategy for many years. Growing Responsibly doesn’t just mean protecting the environment and supporting farmers and communities. There are clear commercial factors, such as having a sound business model with strong risk management and governance, so that we protect our investors, shareholders and employees, which in turn means we have a resilient and sustainable business for our farmers, suppliers and customers.