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Improving wastewater quality

As an agricultural company it seems obvious to focus on improving the use efficiency of our water sources but we should not overlook the need to focus on the quantity and quality of wastewater arising from our operations.

In our farms and plantations water can run off the surface of the land, washing away valuable top-soil and nutrients, which in turn can then impact on the quality of nearby watercourses. This is why as part of the Olam Plantations, Concessions and Farms Code, we continue to focus not only on water use efficiency but to also incorporate the activities which could affect waste water quality into our Integrated Water Resource Management plans and our Soil Management Plans.

In our factories we have waste water quality standards for the water we discharge. This year we have undertaken a wide range of improvement activities in our factories including:

  • Improvements to the effluent treatment plant for our onion processing factories in Egypt
  • Commissioning an on-site sewage treatment plant at our Cochin spices factory in India, which is capable of handling 60MT/day for the entire domestic effluent generated in the unit
  • Commissioning an effluent treatment plant at our Lagos noodle factory in Nigeria from which we will use the treated water for gardening and washroom flushing.

This is all part of our continual improvement programme.

In December 2015, our Arabica coffee processing facility in the Lam Ha district of Vietnam was fined for discharging wastewater that did not meet environmental standards. This part of our operations was contracted to a third party specialist vendor and we demanded immediate corrective actions. Our learning from this incident is to more closely monitor contractors to ensure that they are fully complying with all legislation.

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