Olam to support net-positive approach to agriculture supply chain

Olam to support net-positive approach to agriculture supply chain
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Nolanberg11

Agri-business giant, Olam International, has launched the Olam Living Landscapes Policy (OLLP) which supports a ‘Net-Positive’ approach to agricultural supply chains and landscape management.

The OLLP adopts principles to support the co-existence of prosperous farmers and thriving communities with healthy ecosystems. Its aims apply across products, and cover Olam’s plantations and farms, as well as its extensive third-party sourcing network of more than 4 million small and large-scale farmers.

The Policy represents a step-change in ambition for Olam – “to re-imagine agriculture by putting back more into food and farming systems than is taken out”.

Olam recognises that much environmental destruction, especially in developing countries, is driven by entrenched poverty. Therefore the economic viability of farming and the rural economy is central to achieving positive conservation outcomes.

The Policy states that land use activities should be planned and managed in such a way as to supply food and fibre, while maintaining or enhancing critical habitats, and re-generating the natural capital of soil, water and natural ecosystems.

Unacceptable land use practices for both Olam’s operations and third-party suppliers must be identified and eliminated if present. The OLLP further outlines how local voices play an important role in decision-making processes within dynamic, adaptive and resilient landscapes.

The OLLP sets out time-bound commitments for preparing the ‘Net-Positive’ framework and, how the framework will be applied through suitable strategies, targets and timelines for both Olam controlled operations and to third-party suppliers. The framework and strategies will be prepared in two tranches, by 2018 and by 2020.

To prepare the framework Olam will also seek the guidance and advice of a multi-stakeholder network, in particular on-the-ground work for measuring, valuing and reporting natural and social capital for agriculture. Progress will be reported from April 2019.

Sunny Verghese, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Olam, said: “Agriculture is at a tipping point. Unless we address the multiple environmental and social issues affecting our supply chains, our future volumes are at risk.

“We already have many policies and codes in place but we must now go beyond simply doing less harm, and instead aim for a ‘net-positive’ impact towards the creation and restoration of natural and social capital.

“We recognise that the publication of this Policy is only the start of a challenging process where we will need to assess our own operations, influence a vast network of farmers beyond the reach of our direct sourcing, and still operate a viable business.”