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A global agricultural company rewrites its relationship with 345,000 small farmers.

From its origins as a trader of cashew nuts from Nigeria to India, the Singapore-based Olam has grown into a global agricultural business that supplies 47 different products to multinationals like General Mills, Nestle and Unilever. In 2010, however, the company underwent one of its biggest transformations with the creation of the Olam Livelihood Charter, a manifesto of eight principles that would commit the company to increasing its investment in smallholder farmers.

“It was an opportunity to create partnerships,” said Chris Brett, the company’s global head of corporate responsibility and sustainability, and who first proposed the idea. Today, around 345,000 smallholders across Asia, Africa and South America have met “OLC status,” a stamp that certifies that the farms have implemented better workplace guidelines and increased their yield with Olam’s support. The company’s fair pricing policies, meanwhile, have led to more than $520 million in payouts to the farms.

Company Information

Impact Segment
Economic Opportunity/Financial Inclusion
Food Services
Sunny George Verghese
Company Type
Revenues ($M) (Last Fiscal Year)$13,865
Profits ($M) (Last Fiscal Year)$-47
Market Value ($M)$3,790