Olam is committed to selecting and managing land responsibly. Although land development is necessary to feed growing populations, expansion can negatively impact local populations and the environment unless essential precautions are taken.
In this section we cover:
- Why land is material to our business
- A bird’s eye view of the land in our supply chains
- How we manage key issues
- Progress on our goals
- Q&A with Dr Christopher Stewart, Head of Environment and Sustainability, Olam Gabon
Every crop we grow or source comes from a landscape where it is nourished by the nutrients in the soil, may depend on insects for pollination and relies on adequate water and sunlight. Land, we must remember, however, is a finite resource. As a global agri-business with major plantations, farms and concessions, we are therefore conscious of our role as stewards of the environment and that we must always seek a social licence from the communities to operate. Getting land management wrong carries both significant operational and reputational risk.
Operating sustainably also means that we use no more productive land than is absolutely necessary, and ensure that sufficient good quality land is available for other activities and the livelihoods of others. While modern advances in farming mean we can grow more on less land than was once possible, we aim to reduce, wherever feasible, our land use and increase productivity for both Olam and our suppliers.
A particular challenge is that we estimate that currently about 75% of the land producing crops for our supply chains is not under our direct influence i.e. we are procuring the crops from third parties on their land holdings. As major buyers we appreciate that we therefore have to try to extend our Growing Responsibly ethos as far we can.
Image: Olam Aviv coffee plantation, Tanzania
Next section: A bird’s eye view of the land in our supply chains