Coffee Sustainability

Demand for coffee is expected to continue to rise, driven particularly by consumer demand for instant and specialty coffees.

Production increases need to be managed carefully given already challenging social and environmental constraints, made even more difficult in fragmented smallholder supply chains where we do not always have direct access to the farmer.  

We are focused on advancing sustainable practices both directly across our own operations and farmer programmes, and indirectly through industry platforms and partnerships.

Get in touch with our Coffee team:

Sourcing standards and tools

To ensure that we comply with social, environmental, and economic principles we have various Sourcing Standards and Tools. Among our smallholder sourcing networks in Asia, Africa, and Latin America we have already supported many farmer groups, providing organisational structures that allow small-scale growers to pool resources for better prices. The groups also allow us to facilitate delivery of training, set-up of credit systems, and distribute seedlings and agricultural inputs, such as fertiliser, either directly or through our partners.

Coffee under the Olam Livelihood Charter

Our Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC) embraces around 36,000 smallholder coffee farmers in 16 countries. It sets out the principles against which we carry out our sustainability initiatives: access to finance, improved yield through training in Good Agricultural Practices, fair labour practices, market access, quality, traceability, social investment, and environmental impact.

Countries where we have existing OLC programmes include  Côte d'Ivoire, India, Vietnam, Uganda, Honduras, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Burundi, Zambia and Laos.

Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS)

To date, in excess of 37,000 coffee farmers are registered in the OFIS platform. The tool helps our origin teams trace our farmers, map their farm boundaries, improve our understanding of farmer communities, and share better information to partners. We are working to offer additional functionalities such as farm management plans, farmer segmentation and generating the cost of production analysis, amongst others.

Olam AtSource

As part of our purpose to Re-imagine Global Agriculture, in 2018 Olam launched AtSource – one of the most comprehensive sustainable sourcing packages in the B2B marketplace.

Coffee from Brazil and Vietnam are 2 of the first supply chains available to customers who will be able to track the environmental and social performance of their product across 80 KPIs presented via a digital dashboard. In turn, this will provide data for more targeted and efficient sustainability interventions and better support our customers on their sustainability journeys. To find out more go to the AtSource website.

Olam Supplier Code

The Code provides a comprehensive set of conditions to support our goal to purchase coffee produced in a manner that is socially responsible, economically profitable and environmentally sustainable. 

By December 2018, more than 75% of our regular suppliers signed the OSC covering more than 90% of our volume. The OSC is available in 7 languages (English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Bahassa Indonesia and Lao) and Olam Coffee Origins continue to be fully engaged in the implementation of the Code.

Tackling Deforestation and Building Resiliance to Climate Change

Increasing climate temperatures can have a significant impact on coffee production. Equally, as with some other supply chains in emerging markets, low incomes among smallholder coffee growers can mean that they encroach into forest to grow more coffee to increase yields.

Certifications and related programmes

We work with all certifications/verifications in coffee: 4C, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, FLA, Organic, Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices, AAA Nespresso and others. A significant amount of the coffee we trade is certified/verified. All our owned plantations are certified Rainforest Alliance / UTZ and 4C and our plantations in Zambia have the status of Strategic Partner under CAFÉ Practices. We believe that the most meaningful and impactful social development projects are those that foster a sense of ownership from the communities within our plantations or through the implementation of sustainable projects.

Plantations, Concessions and Farms Code

This code applies to Olam-managed plantations, concessions and farms. All plantations undergo an immediate environmental survey and social mapping of the estates surrounding areas and a full Environmental and Social Impact Assessment by an independent consultant. Features like High Conservation Value areas or High Carbon Stock forests are critically assessed. These are incorporated into hydrological and cultivation models to minimise the impact on river ecosystems, conserve biodiversity and rebuild soil health as well as identify opportunities to support surrounding communities.

Case studies

Growing Sustainable Coffee

Explore how to grow sustainable coffee through our video filmed in West Java, Indonesia.

Knowledge Is Empowering

Working direclty with our farmers allows us to actively pursue long-term relationships with farmers and suppliers based on responsible practices and trust. 

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