Olam agricultural products and food ingredients
Tackling the food-water-energy nexus
Olam is one of the world’s largest agricultural products and food ingredients companies: a major supplier of nuts, dairy, rice, coffee, cocoa, wood and other products sourced from the company’s own plantations and from its vast network of smallholder farmers. Olam products come from all over the world, particularly Africa and Asia. Market trends and the company’s business model means it faces a variety of challenges with regard to its sustainability strategy and performance. These challenges include:
- A rise in sustainability initiatives throughout the food value chain, with major brands (such as Carrefour, Unilever, Nestlé and Marks & Spencer) increasingly supporting and even requiring demonstrable sustainability credentials as a core part of their retail offer in the market place.
- Growing awareness of the food-waterenergy nexus and the inherent fragility and interdependence of these three elements, with extreme weather events (such as drought and flood) and associated price shocks affecting food supply and security around the world.
- Olam has undergone a period of rapid growth and expansion, acquiring new partners, new markets and new products within its portfolio – with the consequent need to ensure alignment across operations with regard to its corporate sustainability vision.
In 2011 and 2012, Olam asked us to help develop its sustainability initiatives through:
- Assisting in the creation of a sustainability reporting strategy, including identification of material issues, use of GRI sustainability reporting guidelines, articulation of key sustainability focus areas and overall report content and structure.
- Research and advice on sustainability trends, targets and commitments across the food, agriculture and consumer goods industries, to help calibrate the company’s aspirations.
Olam is working to forge a clear identity and sustainability offer on the back of these and related initiatives, helping the company to position itself to meet the needs and expectations of farmers, partners and global markets now and in the future.