Why labour is material to our business
At the end of 2015, Olam’s primary workforce, across our full value chain, was 26,300 people across 70 countries, while our secondary workforce (casual, contract and seasonal) was 36,200. In total, an increase of 12% over 18 months since our 2014 report. In part, this is due to the acquisitions of ADM Cocoa and McCleskey Mills which together brought 1,700 new employees to the Olam Group.
Olam is our workforce. In fact, we have an internal campaign called ‘I am Olam’. We rely on both our primary and secondary workforce to source, grow, and process legal and safe raw materials and ingredients; we rely on them to carry out their roles responsibly, to be accountable for their actions, to motivate others, serve our customers and to come up with new ideas. Not fulfilling these brings considerable risk in the form of losing talented people, potential product withdrawals due to negligence, injuries, strikes and lost time, and reputational loss.
All of our direct operations are therefore based on ensuring that people are kept safe, and that they have the right to air grievances. This is upheld by our managers implementing the Olam Code of Conduct (updated in 2015 for roll-out in 2016) and International Labour Organization (ILO) compliant labour standards.
In addition to our direct workforce, we are also focused on labour within our indirect supply chain – how to ensure that the 4 million farmers, primarily smallholders in emerging markets, are not engaging in child or forced labour, and that they are employing safe practices on their respective farmlands.
The strategic importance of getting labour right therefore, cannot be underestimated, especially when it is one of our most complex material areas. It requires the combined and concerted efforts of business and country managers, Human Resources (HR), Manufacturing and Technical Services (MATS) and Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S).
Image: Olam Cocoa Processing facility in Jurong, Singapore, which was acquired as part of the ADM Cocoa acquisition. We welcomed our new colleagues in October 2015.
Next section: Key facts about our direct workforce