10 December 2021
Protecting forests and areas of high conservation value and eliminating unacceptable land use practices is a priority for Olam across our agricultural supply chains worldwide. Around the world we maintain open and regular dialogue with local communities where we operate and support activities that are making tangible differences on the ground to improve livelihoods and deliver better living standards for farmers and rural communities.
We respect customary and legal tenure, and access rights of indigenous people, as well as local and cultural traditions. We are committed to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as set out in our Living Landscapes Policy.
To address the specific points raised by Public Eye:
Palm operations in Gabon
- We disagree and strongly refute the allegation of irresponsible deforestation or land conversion and that Olam breached FSC rules on forest clearance. Since first raised, we have engaged proactively with Mighty Earth, hosting it and other NGOs and stakeholders to see first-hand our environmentally and socially responsible approach in Gabon, and enabling them to engage with national stakeholders as well as villages and communities. We are permanently protecting 99,000 hectares of HCV lands – over 50% of our total palm concession – and since January 2017, we have upheld a moratorium on new plantation expansion in Gabon and we are committed to no further development or expansion.
- In April 2020, we voluntarily commenced a process with the FSC to independently review how the decisions on our palm development in Gabon were taken and implemented and to resolve Mighty Earth’s procedural grievance. We are committed to an open and transparent process with the FSC and believe it will demonstrate the rigour that we brought to the planning and implementation, and reaffirm our plantations as a positive example of environmentally and socially responsible palm production.
[full response attached]