Cocoa Sustainability
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Flagship cocoa sustainability projects and initiatives gain OLC status when they address all 8 Principles of interest-free finance, improved yield, labour practices, market access, quality, traceability, social investment and environmental impact. This results in better productivity and returns for farmers and greater sustainability assurances for our customers and partners.

Our operations are transparent and open to independent, third-party auditors such as Intertek and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to verify our OLC programmes, ensure supply chain integrity, and eradicate child labour in accordance with the 8 OLC Principles.

Managed by dedicated sustainability staff, our activities extend to numerous long-term programmes, either Olam led, through global joint efforts, or through partnerships in origin with Rainforest Alliance/UTZ, Fairtrade, Fairtrade USA and Organic Soil Association that run in concert with OLC initiatives.

In 2018 our cocoa OLC programmes reached 43,000 new farmers worldwide, the total number of farmers touched by our cocoa sustainability programmes exceeds 228,000. 

Tackling deforestation

Deforestation in cocoa is an ongoing issue as farmers seek land to increase their crop. As a founding member of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, Olam is committed to halting deforestation in our supply chains globally. We are working to achieve this through farmer programmes in our direct sourcing, and through the Olam Supplier Code and industry partnerships in our indirect supply chains.

147,000+ trained in conservation of forests, land and biodiversity
599,000+ ha of High Conservation Value areas protected

Olam Cocoa sustainability activities are focused on creating impact in the following areas:

Many smallholder cocoa farmers have limited access to affordable finance, impacting how much they can invest in their farms and therefore how much the can grow and earn.

Olam supports farmers by providing interest free pre-financing, short-term financing, paying certification premiums above and beyond non-certified pricing and by distributing quality based premiums.

A lack of education can trap cocoa farmers in a cycle of low productivity.

We work to overcome this challenge by focusing on farmer registration and farmer training in Good Agricultural Practices, Good Labour Practices, Integrated Pest Management and Business Capacity training through farmer field schools and demonstration plots for practical, hands-on learning opportunities

Sustainably improving cocoa yields and crop quality benefits all parties.

By providing cocoa farmers access to, and through the distribution of, the best varieties of cocoa seeds and seedlings, and through the construction of solar dryers to support quality standards post-harvest, overall cocoa quality is raised and livelihoods are supported.

Taking sustainable actions to protect the environment in cocoa producing areas relies upon improving the quality of the key data utilised in programme planning.

We are addressing these issues by surveying cocoa farmers and their farms, GPS mapping through the Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS). We also distribute shade trees to increase ground cover and support forest conservation through the Cocoa and Forests Initiative and our Climate-Friendly Cocoa programmes with Rainforest Alliance

In line with our goal of reaching 100% traceable and sustainable cocoa volumes from our direct origination supply chain by 2020, we believe that all cocoa farmers should have the ability to efficiently sell their produce into the global market.

We are focused on increasing market access opportunities for cocoa farmers and farmer groups and ensuring traceability through our unparalleled, year-round farmgate presence. We have also developed a proprietary digital solution called Olam Traceability which allows our buying agents to manage transactions and supports our chain of custody.

Our support of cocoa producing communities grows each year.

This includes the establishment of resource centres for farmer training and for storing materials for cocoa cooperatives and nurseries, as well as constructing schools, health centres, maternity units, medical laboratories, water pumps and cooperative stores. We use data collected through our Olam Farmer Information System and the relationships we've developed with our farmers to get a better understanding of what individual communities need. 

Olam is against all forms of child exploitation and we work actively through a number of programmes to prevent its existence.

We are working to increase farmer incomes, establish Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems in cocoa communities, and provide training specifically on tackling child labour, so cocoa farms are able to employ labourers rather than rely on their own families, including children, to work on the farm.

Find out more about what we're doing to address child labour in cocoa. 

The Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS) is being used extensively by our cocoa business. As of Q2 2018 we have registered more than 120,267 farmers. OFIS provides greater traceability and transparency for our sustainability partners and customers, allowing for direct access to farmer and origination information. 

  • Child labour in cocoa: Why it’s so hard to combat and what we’re doing about it Download [413kb, PDF]
  • Child labour monitoring and remediation in the Scinpa Cooperative Download [226kb, PDF]

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