Safe and Decent Work

Olam is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for our employees, contractors and visitors. Our vision of embedding a ‘zero harm culture’ is delivered through safety leadership and embodied in ‘Our Shared Values’. Our continuous campaign called ‘An Even Safer Olam’ is backed by goals and targets measured in our Annual Reports.

We are equally focused on providing a workplace where the rights of all people are respected. Our approach to Fair Employment is guided by the conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC) guiding principles on human rights and labour. This includes compliance with all relevant laws and international agreements covering wages, working hours and conditions, freedom of association, collective bargaining and non-discrimination.

Our focus on Safe and Decent work extends beyond our own operations and into our third party supply chains, particularly with regard to child and forced adult labour, as well as fair working conditions. As many of our supply chains are in emerging markets across highly rural areas with significant levels of poverty and lacking in infrastructure like schools, eradicating labour issues is much more complex, particularly when buying via intermediaries. To help address some of these issues, we were the first agri-business to become an affiliate member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), working with them on programmes in our cocoa and hazelnut supply chains.


Working to improve labour conditions in the hazelnut migrant labour force

Around 400,000 farmers in Turkey grow 70% of the world’s hazelnuts. At harvest, farmers rely on a migrant workforce estimated as high as 1.5 million people. This brings challenges, including child labour and issues around wages and hours. Olam Progida works with customers, competitors and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to improve working conditions with assessment reports published on the FLA’s website. Through the Olam Livelihood Charter programmes Olam also helps farmers improve yields and quality, which in turn can boost labour wages through improved incomes.

FLA: A conversation with Olam and Balsu

Safety is a continuous improvement programme for Olam. We insist on the very constant and necessary focus on Safe Systems of Work, Risk Management, Incident Investigation, correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Permits to work, and Lock-Out-Tag-Out (LOTO) when machinery is not to be used. These are mandatory within our operations. We report on Health & Safety in our [Annual Reports|/content/olamgroup/en/home-page/investors/investor-library.html], including Lost Time Injury Frequency Rates.

We have zero tolerance for forced labour, slavery or human trafficking in our organisation and industry. We are committed to maintaining our work, as a global leader in many food and industrial raw material businesses, in engaging with others including suppliers, interest groups and Governments, to eliminate abuses in the labour markets where Olam operates or has influence.

Olam already has in place a number of policies which are reviewed and improved upon regularly along with all our initiatives which require us to mitigate the risk of slavery or human trafficking occurring in Olam’s business or any of its supply chains. These include:

• Olam International Code of Conduct - establishing our commitment to growing responsibly including to human rights and standing against all forms of child exploitation, the use of forced labour and abiding by relevant ILO conventions.

Olam Supplier Code - establishing a minimum, non-negotiable standard to which all our suppliers must adhere and which supplements our usual due diligence processes. 

Olam Livelihood Charter – reflecting our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all of our business relationships. In particular, working with smallholders to improve economic, social and environmental issues, which include labour practices.

Olam Sustainable Palm Oil Policy – reflecting our commitment to human rights and ‘no exploitation’ in our own plantations, as well as our third-party sourcing.

For the UK Modern Slavery Statement please click here.

We are absolutely against all forms of child exploitation, respecting and abiding by the ILO conventions No 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour and No. 138 on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and Work. 
In addition to ensuring this is applied across all of our direct operations (plantations, farms and processing units) Olam works proactively with others, including suppliers, governments and industry peers, to progressively eliminate these abuses in the labour markets related to agricultural supply chains. We follow, and expect our suppliers to follow ILO Convention No 138 defining child labour.

This is clearly stated in the Olam Supplier Code which sets out certain minimum and non-negotiable standards to which all our suppliers must adhere. Signing the Olam Supplier Code represents a commitment to follow the fair employment practices in compliance with all applicable local government rules and regulations regarding Child Labour Laws, and an understanding that regular auditing will be carried out.

In addition, Olam undertakes a raft of measures to mitigate the risk of child labour. These include:

  • Training farmers in good labour practices 
  • Helping farmers to increase yields through the provision of pre-finance, agri-inputs and training in Good Agricultural Practices, which helps them afford to hire adult labour
  • Surveying the community through the Olam Farmer Information System to identify where schools are lacking, and, in turn, providing the required funds for their establishment, as well as ensuring long-term provision of teaching staff by the government
  • Providing adult literacy courses for farmers not only to improve farm management capability but to demonstrate the value of education for their children
  • Scaling up initiatives by working with partners including customers, donors, governments and NGOs.

This is not to say that tackling child labour is easy – far from it. There are many interconnected social and economic issues. Read more in this blog:

How we tackle child labour in the cocoa supply chain here: Why it’s so hard to combat and what we’re doing about it.

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