In our own operations, we focus on ensuring access to sufficient safe and hygienic sources for food and water during working hours:
- Specific nutrition and health needs, especially those engaged in hard physical labour or pregnant women are taken care of
- Employees are educated on importance of hygiene
- Employees are educated on importance of nutritious and healthy food habits.
Around 500 million smallholders produce 80% of all the food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, as a sector, agriculture has the highest incidence of families living below the poverty line. Given that many of our products (aside from rice, dairy and wheat) could be termed as niche ingredients, or raw materials such as cotton, our role in driving food security might not seem obvious. But our close working relationships with farmer suppliers, and our expertise across the value chain, enable us to equip farmers and their communities with the knowledge and tools for sustainable and profitable agriculture, including staple food crops.
In our third-party supply chains, we focus on improving people’s health and well-being through:
- Fortification of consumer food products
- Support for food crop and vegetable production
- Information campaigns in farming communities and factories on health, hygiene and nutrition
- Mobile medical screenings in rural areas
- Water and health infrastructure
In this way, we will play our role in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Read more in the Social Capital section of our 2019 Annual Report.
Just as a balanced diet is nutritionally diverse, so a healthy livelihood shouldn’t be overly reliant on one crop. Through AtSource and other programmes, we have been starting to focus on improving access to nutritious food for farming families and reducing malnutrition. Encouraging farmers to diversify crops helps to stagger income and spread risk. It is also good for the soil. Farmers can grow other crops for cash or for family needs.
Life expectancy in developing countries remains low, perhaps just 59 years for a man. This is compounded by poor nutrition, disease and an inability to treat minor ailments. This in turn impacts farm productivity – a study in Côte d’Ivoire found that during a single cabbage production cycle, farmers infected with malaria had 47% lower yields and 53% lower revenues. So, it is in everyone’s interests to invest in the health of rural communities.
In Africa we run the Olam Healthy Living Campaign which reached over 215,000 people in 2019. Health caravans offered vaccinations, testing and other support for HIV, malaria, malnutrition and other needs.
Read an example of where we've made such a difference in the community.
In our rural emerging market operations, particularly where there is no piped water infrastructure such as around our estates, we focus on improving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) access for employees. As part of our sustainability programmes we dig bore holes and build wells. Not only does this provide water locally, but it frees up women and children to participate in training and education instead of walking many miles to collect water.