Why agriculture needs re-imagining

Agriculture faces some of the world’s biggest development, economic, and environmental challenges.

Millions of farmers, particularly smallholders, who grow cash crops like cocoa, cashew and cotton, are living at subsistence levels, while natural resources, such as soil and forests, are being degraded or lost at an alarming rate. Meanwhile around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted.

Certainly with another 2 billion people by 2050 we cannot carry on the way we are.

Tackling these issues is a huge task as no issue is isolated. For example, deforestation is often bound up with low yields and poverty. Equally, while many companies like Olam have sustainability programmes in place, we must go beyond what is currently being done today and achieve far greater impact at far greater scale.

We need to ‘Re-imagine Global Agriculture’ so that we are actually putting more back into food and farming systems than is taken out. We call this having a ‘net positive impact’ by creating ‘living landscapes’ where prosperous farmers and thriving communities co-exist with healthy eco-systems. In turn, this will make our business more resilient and identify new and exciting opportunities.

Olam’s Vision & Principles

Our plantation and processing experience, coupled with our breadth of portfolio and year-round presence working with farmers in even the remotest regions, means that we are in a strong position to achieve this.

In 2017, we updated our previous company purpose of Growing Responsibly to embrace this bold ambition and motivate our employees around the world: To Re-imagine Global Agriculture: Growing Responsibly.

By living this purpose we will innovate internally and work externally with partners to achieve 3 outcomes:

What do we mean by Growing Responsibly?


Conducting our business in an ethical, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner has been part of Olam’s ongoing strategy for many years.  Growing Responsibly doesn’t just mean protecting the environment and supporting farmers and communities. There are clear commercial factors, such as having a sound business model with strong risk management and governance, so that we protect our investors, shareholders and employees, which in turn means we have a resilient and sustainable business for our farmers, suppliers and customers.


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