As outlined in our Fair Employment Policy, Olam is an equal opportunity employer and we strive to promote diversity and inclusiveness at all levels in the organisation. We strongly believe that a diversity of experience, culture and perspective is required to help our business excel.
We expect our suppliers to create an inclusive work environment that avoids any form of discrimination. As stated in the Olam Supplier Code and Living Landscapes Policy, all forms of harassment, intimidation, and abuse or threat are not permissible. We also encourage them to achieve gender equality, equal access and empowerment of women.
Both Olam and our suppliers must respect the rights of indigenous people and their cultural heritage.
We are committed to ensuring gender equality throughout our value chain – from our plantations and farms, to the processing units, offices and senior management. This includes wages, opportunity for promotion and training.
Our processing, procurement and plantation operations in emerging markets are increasingly seeing women in roles typically occupied by men. In our Zambian coffee subsidiary, Northern Coffee Corporation Limited (NCCL), is championing workplace diversity with a training programme for women tractor drivers in the coffee estates. Based in Kasama, Northern Zambia, this programme is aiming to promote economic development and create role models whilst also tracking the progress towards women empowerment and gender equality.
The training programme lasts 2 weeks, with its main focus being on how to train women to operate the heavy duty tractors safely. With practical instructions being a key component of the training, the women learn to handle and understand the maintenance aspects of the machines.
GROW’s mission is ‘women driving a globally inclusive work environment’. With members (both women and men) in the USA, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda, chapters are opening around the world. Areas of focus include communication, time management, negotiation skills and calculated risk-taking.
Christiana Anim Asare, Brands Manager for Olam Ghana's rice business who championed and coordinated the launch event for Ghana, stresses that GROW is neither a department nor union within Olam but is “a network that aims to create an environment in which women are engaged, inspired and can express themselves as leaders”.
Our ambition to improve smallholder farmer livelihoods cannot be fully achieved without addressing gender equality. Studies show that female farmers achieve the same yields as men when they have equal access to farm inputs and training. Yet in many communities where Olam works, women have vastly unequal decision-making power, control over use of income, and access to education, finance, land, and inputs. Entrenched social barriers keep women from accessing productive resources and even household decisions. Their additional household responsibilities, such as gathering water and laborious food preparation, restrict their time to engage in remunerative activities or attend training.
Olam works to close the gender gap in agriculture by providing equal opportunities for women to obtain farm inputs and support; encouraging farmer groups to include women leaders; actively drawing women to training on Good Agricultural Practices and farm management; providing targeted trainings on nutrition and crop diversification; and sensitising communities about gender equality.
One of the greatest risks to the success of our upstream plantation activities is if we fail to gain the acceptance of the communities. Not just at the start of the programme but every day going forward. We therefore adhere to the Free Prior and Informed Consent Process (FPIC) for all new developments, and aim to maintain that dialogue as a matter of course. See also the Olam Living Landscapes Policy, Plantations Concessions and Farms Code and the Sustainable Palm Oil Policy.