New ‘lens’ on the future of coffee: Olam Coffee defines contributions to SDGs with commitments to improve livelihoods, communities and landscapes
Olam Coffee, one of the leading green coffee origin exporters and part of Olam Food Ingredients, has announced its vision for the future of the coffee sector.
‘Coffee LENS’ - standing for ‘Livelihoods, Education and Nature at Scale’- sets Olam Coffee’s first formal sustainability targets for 2025 across its global, direct coffee supply chain, covering 18 origins and a sourcing network of an estimated 424,000 farmers.
Aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Coffee LENS focusses on four priority areas to improve economic opportunity, education and skills, climate action and ecosystems in the coffee sector, with the following goals:
- 200,000 households benefitting from improved productivity and incomes
- All children of coffee farmers in Olam’s supply chain have access to education and young people are engaged in vocational training
- Greenhouse Gas emission intensity from Olam Coffee’s global footprint is reduced by 15%
- All Olam’s coffee supply chains are deforestation-free with improved soil health and biodiversity at landscape level
The strategy will be achieved through collaboration with partners – customers, governments, financial institutions, multi-lateral agencies and NGOs – and builds on a decade of sustainability experience, with over 60,000 coffee farmers across Africa, Asia and South America already receiving sustainability support from Olam Coffee.
Speaking ahead of the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October, Vivek Verma, Managing Director and CEO, Olam Coffee said: “While the coffee supply chain is highly fragmented making direct access to farmers difficult, our sustainability ambitions have grown each year, promoting the importance of traceability, quality, profitable farmers and living landscapes. Despite our collective efforts however, many of the complex challenges in coffee remain and are now compounded by COVID-19 imposed restrictions to markets and skilled labour squeezing incomes further.
“Our Coffee LENS strategy therefore, focuses our efforts on increasing the impact of what we are already doing through a more structured approach.
“Through dynamic alliances and tools such as our insights platform AtSource and buying app Olam Directi, we aim to deliver these targets by 2025, creating visible and scalable impact. As a result, we will then be able to expand those targets further, re-imagining the future of coffee.”
Commenting on the new strategy, Carlos Brando, Chairman of the Board, Global Coffee Platform (GCP) said: “As a founding member of the Global Coffee Platform, Olam is among the leading facilitators of the coffee sector’s journey towards sustainability. Working directly with producers on the ground, Olam’s ambitious vision of a more resilient future for coffee, where farmers prosper, communities thrive and landscapes are re-generated, complements GCP’s multi-stakeholder pre-competitive framework and initiatives, that Olam fully supports. This is particularly important at a time when sustainability is and must continue to be a shared responsibility.”
Heske Verburg, Managing Director, Solidaridad Europe, a sustainability partnerii of Olam Coffee, added: "Solidaridad and Olam share a vision of prosperous farmers and resilient farming systems, providing a solid base for a promising alliance to integrate shared value solutions into the coffee supply chain, creating positive impact at scale."
Progress on Coffee LENS will be reported annually, tracked and supported by data from the 100 economic, social and environmental metrics of AtSource.
Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) CEO, A Shekhar concluded: “Olam’s Coffee LENS strategy exemplifies everything that OFI stands for: striving to ensure that sustainability is at the core of our offering not only in Coffee, but across our diverse portfolio of ‘on trend’ ingredients and solutions. We want to help our customers curate their own sustainability journey to meet the increasing demands of consumers for food products that are not only natural but right for both planet and producer.”
Notes to editor
i Olam Direct: a digital buying platform giving farmers access to daily prices and the ability to transact with Olam directly
ii Olam Coffee is working with Solidaridad on a circular coffee project in Peru. Other global partners include IDH, USAID and TechnoServe.