Working closely to support the local communities and indigenous people around our forest concessions has been central to CIB since it was established five decades ago. Our investment and support has created employment opportunities, developed essential infrastructure and utilities, built housing, schools and community facilities, as well as improved access to healthcare.
We’re one of the largest employers in the north of the Republic of Congo. All of our around 1,200 people in our operations are paid above the country’s minimum salary – for example, entry level workers are paid 9% above the legal minimum wage. Free or subsidised housing, electricity, water and healthcare are also provided. We engage with workers and union representatives regularly.
In line with Olam’s Fair Employment Policy, we’re committed to providing a workplace where rights of all employees are respected. We don’t discriminate recruitment or salaries on the basis of gender, race, age, religion or sexual orientation. We’re committed to ensuring a healthy and safe working environment, and have put in place appropriate processes, equipment and training to support employees to comply with our safety requirements.
We maintain open and regular dialogue with the local community and indigenous population, respecting local and cultural traditions, and – as set out in our policies (French and English) – we’re committed to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Trees and groves sacred to semi-nomadic groups and indigenous peoples living in our concessions are protected by our staff, while the “BisonaBiso” (“Between Us”) community radio station disseminates information about health, environment and social issues to the local communities, and also provides information about our activities.
Click below to read our Policy Document on Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
We recognise that feedback and input from the community and stakeholders is valuable to help drive improvements and to address their concerns. We’ve established a Grievance Procedure to report and address breaches of relevant Olam Policies or Codes, resulting in illegality, exploitation of local communities or workers employed by Olam or a third-party supplier, or unacceptable practices in land use management, as defined in the Olam Living Landscapes Policy and the Olam Supplier Code.
The Grievance Procedures for CIB are provided here and our Grievance log here. While grievances can be made anonymously, providing full contact details enables us to better understand and address the concern.
We operate and fund a 42-bed hospital and four rural clinics (with 50 additional beds), offering medical care, vaccinations and heath information, including malaria treatment and HIV awareness and prevention to our employees, and to the communities in and around our concessions. In 2018 these facilities performed over 45,000 patient consultations.
We also support treatment and supplement programmes that reach approximately 600 children across the villages. Additionally, we provide essential medicines and logistical support to Project Bwanga, a mobile clinic delivering healthcare to hunter-gatherers and remote forest people. These activities provide essential support to over 50,000 people across the 20,000 km² region around Pokola, where there’s limited access to healthcare.
Villages across the north of the Republic of Congo continue to face challenges posed by poverty, poor nutrition, access to healthcare and numerous social factors which facilitate the spread of diseases, such as malaria. We’re working with the communities, authorities, experts and NGOs to find a durable solution to help communities living in the forest.
In 2017, following an outbreak of malaria affecting a village on the edge of our concession where a new road had been built, we commissioned an independent tropical disease specialist to investigate concerns. The Summary Report by Caroline Maxwell is available here.