Olam and Mighty Earth agree to collaborate on Forest Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture in Highly Forested Countries
In the wake of Mighty Earth’s 2016 report, Palm Oil’s Black Box, Mighty Earth and Olam met in Washington D.C. and agreed to move forward on two imperatives: enabling models for responsible agricultural development that support forest conservation whilst addressing poverty reduction and job creation in Gabon and other high forest cover countries; and the need for palm oil traders to collectively strengthen incentives for suppliers in Southeast Asia to avoid deforestation and exploitation of workers or communities. The meeting was convened to discuss the impact of the palm oil and rubber plantations developed by Olam with its Joint Venture partner, the Republic of Gabon, as well as Olam’s third party palm oil sourcing in Southeast Asia. The World Resources Institute moderated the meeting. Olam agreed to: • Suspend further land clearing of forest in Gabon for palm and rubber plantations for a year (a period that can be extended). During this time, Mighty Earth and Olam agreed to support a multi stakeholder process to develop further specific criteria for responsible agricultural development in countries that have most of their land covered by forests. • Continue to implement its time-bound plans to map and disclose more information about its third-party palm oil supply chains in Asia and require its third party suppliers to adhere to the High Carbon Stock Approach (described at www.highcarbonstock.org) as per its updated Palm Oil Policy. • Publish its procedures to address supply chain risks, including independent verification of compliance of high-risk sources. • Issue a revised grievance procedure that includes Olam’s third-party palm oil suppliers and protects the anonymity of those providing input. Olam will continue to routinely investigate and work to remediate any complaints received from indigenous or local communities. • Supplement its current sustainability policies with explicit references to protecting peat and ensuring no exploitation of workers or local communities.