We need to understand the true sustainability impact of agricultural products. This is increasingly critical for Olam and its customers. The earth’s capacity to continue to provide water, nutrients and a stable climate is at a tipping point. Millions of farmers are also in need of a future that is economically and socially sustainable, one in which future generations will invest and grow.
However, reliable and consistent data is difficult to obtain because of the fragmentation in global agricultural supply chains, particularly in emerging markets. Crops often make their way from farmers in rural villages, change hands through many intermediaries, and are combined with other volumes before reaching a manufacturer such as a food company, making traceability difficult. Olam and its customers need a new set of tools to inform and plan social and environmental initiatives at the scale and urgency required to benefit farmers, rural communities and planet.
In 2014 we launched the Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS) – using GPS and detailed surveys, OFIS provides smallholder farmers with far greater data and information on their farms than ever before to help increase yields and quality.
In 2018 we launched AtSource – one of the most comprehensive sustainability packages in the marketplace for B2B customers which guarantees traceability and meets increasing sustainability requirements.
Olam collaborates and invests in partnerships and platforms to achieve sector impact. These include over 40 customer and NGO partnerships; research partnerships; and industry initiatives. In 2016, we instigated the Global Agri-business Alliance – the first of its kind with private sector companies across the entire value chain of food and non-food crops, focused on sustainability and development challenges. We are also active with initiatives led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – our CEO Sunny Verghese is Chair.
Investing in agricultural research to identify more resilient crop strains or find new methods to reduce resource inputs is a priority across the sector. In addition to focusing on our own operations, we are also stimulating action through the Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security – a USD $50,000 fund to scale up proven research that carries a significant potential impact on the four As of food security: availability, accessibility, affordability and adequacy.