Stakeholder engagement in FY15
Stakeholder engagement has to happen at every level of the business, across products, geographies and functions.
In 2015 Chris Brett alone, as the Global Head of CR&S at Olam, had meetings (private or as part of an industry meeting), or phone calls or other forms of communications with the following Non-Government Organisations:
- Forest Heroes
- High Carbon Stock Study Group
- Save the Children
- Global Witness
- Rainforest Foundation UK
- ACDI VOCA
- Conservation International
- Rainforest Alliance
- OXFAM (Americas & UK)
- Rights & Resources Initiative
Industry working groups where Olam participates on sustainability issues:
- RSPO – alternate board member representing growers from Rest of World
- Sustainable Natural Rubber initiative
- Sustainable Rice Platform – founding member and steering committee
- Sustainable Coffee Program – steering committee member
- CocoaAction – founding member
- Better Cotton Initiative – steering committee member
- The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Low Carbon Technology Partnership Initiative (LCTPi) – Co-Chair for Climate-Smart Agriculture
We then take the outputs from these discussions and see whether they apply to our overall CR&S strategy, or to individual product strategies. This includes cross checking with our stakeholders that our material areas as presented in FY13 and FY14 are still the most relevant – see the separate section on our Material Areas.
Some key opportunities that arose from this engagement in FY15 include:
- Contributing to the development of an industry Rubber Standard
- Participation in the High Carbon Stock Science Study for palm carbon thresholds in highly forested countries (see also our section on Climate Change)
- Participation in the RSPO Emission Reduction Working Group to provide guidance on low carbon development
- Participation in the Paris COP21 WBCSD events endorsing the agreed global commitment and announcing measurable actions will Olam will implement.
It is also worth highlighting that as part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations, Olam launched a Portfolio Of Perspectives, seeking contributions from those inside and outside our sector, who have a perspective on how the issues facing the world, and a business such as Olam’s, can be overcome.
We asked each contributor to take the theme ‘Transcending Boundaries’ which is the meaning of the word Olam. We had many thought-provoking articles from inspiring and diverse individuals including:
- Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever
- Sir Jonathan Porritt
- Noeleen Heyzer, Social Scientist and Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General
- Jim Rogers, founder of the Rogers International Commodity Index®
- Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Food and Markets at WWF
Areas of stakeholder concern in FY15:
Below we list key areas of stakeholder query or concern for FY15. Given the wider industry issues around the development of palm, it is not surprising that it is one of the most asked about product areas. Across all products, however, we fully recognise that we have a number of goals and targets yet to reach.
It must be said that any issue that arises is also treated as an opportunity to improve our processes and standards. We seek to share that learning across the business. A key achievement for FY15 was the launch of two Communities of Practice (CoP) for Trading, and for Plantations and Farming. We always had groups that sought to share best practice but the CoPs have much more formal objectives and goals, answerable to the Executive Committee and Board.
In addition in FY15, we launched a new intranet, which thanks to its design and functionality, has the opportunity to be business transformational in terms of sharing learnings.
* Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, a subsidiary of Olam International.
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