SINGAPORE — Olam International Limited announced on Nov. 26 five global commitments in celebration of its Silver Jubilee Year.
Sunny Verghese, Olam’s Group managing director and chief executive officer, said the commitments are aligned to the company’s corporate purpose of ‘growing responsibly.’ They are also designed to address some of the challenges facing the next generation, such as food, water and energy security, the impact of climate change, sustainable and inclusive growth, and good governance, particularly in the emerging markets.
“As we celebrate Olam’s 25th year and its journey from a single-product, single-country company to a global agribusiness, we reflect on our vision of transcending boundaries – the meaning of Olam – and consider how we will continue to evolve over the next 25 years,” said Verghese.
“The five commitments announced today go beyond the commercial framework of our business, recognizing the role the private sector has to play in helping to holistically address key global challenges. We hope that our efforts will complement and strengthen those of others as we work together toward an enduring and sustainable collective future.”
1. The Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security
Launched in September 2014 in partnership with international scientific organization Agropolis Fondation, the Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security will recognize an outstanding scientific innovation for its potential impact on the availability, affordability, accessibility or adequacy of food, as well as support research to further its development.
The winner will receive $50,000. Entries close on Dec. 4, with the winner to be announced in March 2015 at the 3rd Global Science Conference on Climate Smart Agriculture in Montpellier, France.
2. The Olam Scholarship Program
The Olam Scholarship program is aimed at fostering leadership and governance in the emerging markets by supporting aspiring and capable students to pursue higher education in esteemed international institutions.
The program will award up to 10 scholarships each year to postgraduate students wishing to complete further study in development economics, business management, and public policy and administration, and who are passionate about working in emerging markets.
3. The Olam Foundation
With 25 years of operating at farmgate around the world, Olam has become familiar with the key drivers that can improve rural livelihoods. The Olam Foundation provides a vehicle for Olam to support these developmental issues beyond the day-to-day commercial framework of our business.
With an initial corpus of $3 million, it will focus on applications for projects in select developmental sectors in the targeted countries.
4. Building Sustainable Futures Forum
The Building Sustainable Futures Forum, to be convened by Olam, will be a platform where the rising resource constraints threatening continued global development can be debated and solved in a holistic way.
The Forum, to be held in the second half of 2015, will bring together leaders from different industries across the private sector, NGOs, governments and academics to focus on key developmental issues, including food security, water security, energy security, climate change, sustainable growth and inclusive growth.
5. Charitable donations
In recognition of the support shown by the Singaporean community, Olam is awarding four individual donations of S$100,000 to four local charities: CDAC (Chinese Development Assistance Council); Yayasan MENDAKI (Council for the Development of Singapore Malay/Muslim Community); SINDA (Singapore India Development Association); and Community Chest.
In addition, this year Olam has gifted S$1 million to the recently launched NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies in Singapore and $250,000 to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa through Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), as well as the Red Cross and Caritas via the World Cocoa Foundation.