The model is defined by the natural regeneration capacity of the forest and practices like Reduced Impact Logging.
In addition to receiving a sustained wood supply, sustainability also implies that forest management is environmentally-appropriate and socially sensitive. This includes obtaining the Free and Prior Informed Consent of local and indigenous communities to undertake our activities.
Our operations cannot proceed in isolation and we must respect and create mutual value for others who live in and around the forest landscape, especially in our concessions in the Republic of Congo. Trees and groves sacred to semi-nomadic groups and indigenous peoples living in the forests are protected by our staff, while the “BisonaBiso” (“Between Us”) community radio station and our TV station Canal Pokola support our outreach in keeping the local communities informed about our activities, as well as providing social and health information.
With the growth of our business, the once remote town of Pokola now has a population of 15,000, with over 900 people employed directly by Olam through our subsidiary Congolaise Industrielle des Bois. We have also provided housing, schools, clinics and a 42-bed hospital, sports facilities and a library, which doubles as a cultural centre – tangible development benefits for the surrounding community.
With the Republic of Congo, we also operate a pioneering REDD+ initiative to realise value from the standing forest (92,530 hectares) in our Pikounda Nord concession in the Sangha region in the heart of the Congo River Basin.
The objective of this pilot initiative is to generate alternative revenues from sustainably managed forest landscapes by valuing the forest as a carbon sink and to originate carbon credits for the pre-compliance Voluntary Carbon market. This market is considered best practice and recognised by the global carbon community as able to generate solid and marketable credits.