Press Release

    Olam International Co-Founder and CEO Joins Business & Sustainable Development Commission

    Press release

    Olam International Limited (“Olam”), a leading agri-business, is today proud to announce that its Co-Founder and CEO, Sunny Verghese, has become a member of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (“Business Commission”).

    He joins its roster of leaders from the private sector, academia and civil society, who are committed to accelerating the world’s transition to inclusive and sustainable growth.

    The Business Commission’s mission is to make a powerful case, supported by sound evidence, rigorous research and compelling real-world examples, for why business leaders should seize upon sustainable development as the greatest opportunity of a lifetime. Its purpose is to show how the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the private sector with a framework for making a real difference in addressing the major developmental challenges that face us this century.

    Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Chair of the Business Commission said: “The world cannot achieve sustainable development without the full engagement of the food and agriculture sectors, which are critical to achieving not just one, but the majority of the Global Goals.

    “Sunny’s leadership in agri-business will be essential to increasing the number of leaders who understand the incredible opportunity for both growth and sustainability in this sector.”

    The SDGs, launched in 2015, are 17 ambitious targets for ending hunger and poverty, reducing inequality and tackling climate change by 2030. The goals most clearly related to food and agriculture include Goal 2, which calls for an end to hunger, while Goal 12 calls for sustainable consumption and production, and Goal 13 which calls for mitigating the impacts of climate change. Other goals—ensuring decent work, health and well-being, gender equality and education—however, are also related to the food and agriculture sectors.

    Olam’s Co-Founder & Group CEO Sunny Verghese said: “One of the meanings of the word Olam is ‘enduring’ or ‘everlasting’. I believe the only way we can build an enduring business is to put sustainability at the heart of our business. This is reflected in ‘Growing Responsibly,’ our core purpose, which guides us to pursue profitable growth in an ethical, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way. We have recently been recognised for this approach in Fortune “Change the World” list of 50 global companies.

    “As the world grapples with major developmental challenges including poverty, inequality, hunger, climate change impacts, depletion of natural capital and more, it is now critical for businesses, both large and small, to ensure that values and value creation are not traded off in the long run,” he said. “I am excited to join the Business Commission, as it seeks to inspire and catalyse companies to embed sustainability at the core of their businesses and aims to foster collaborations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

    Sunny Verghese joins 31 other Commissioners, including CEOs Paul Polman, Unilever; Mads Nipper, Grundfos; Ken Frazier, Merck; John Fallon, Pearson; Ho Ching, Temasek; and Helen Hai, Made in Africa; as well as leaders from major business organisations including Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact; Peter Bakker, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development; Sharon Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation, and many others. Their expertise will be essential to shaping the Business Commission’s flagship report, to be published in January 2017, which will serve as the foundation for a number of activities to mobilise business leaders to align their companies with social and environmental impact.

    To learn more about the Business Commission, visit


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