Olam’s buying network is vast. We directly source crops like cocoa and coffee from farmers based in developing countries who face inter-related challenges including low yields, low incomes, limited commercial skills and poor health. Supporting as many farmers as we can is not only the right thing to do, but makes business sense: If farmers grow more, at a better quality, we continue to satisfy customer demand for sustainable products.
Now in its 7th year, and embracing around 445,900 smallholders, the Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC) identifies holistic factors that impact productivity both within and beyond the farmgate. The Charter’s 8 Principles tackle economic, environmental and social challenges including business management, empowering women, reducing child labour and building resilience to climate change.
While the OLC is our flagship sustainability initiative, thousands of other farmers are also benefiting from various levels of support. Some programmes may be on their way to achieving OLC status, some communities may not require all 8 Principles and, in others, the business case may not be feasible for a full OLC programme which requires significant investment, not least in staff. This is why collaboration with partners is so important if we are to achieve further scale. In 2018, over 50 customer, NGO, certification, trade, foundation and development organisation partners are helping us to deliver 49 OLC initiatives. Together, we are sharing expertise and resources to help deliver our sustainability strategy. In turn, this will help deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and lift communities out of poverty.
Only by fulfilling the requirements of all 8 Principles can a sustainability programme achieve OLC status.