Olam Food Ingredients seeks to chart sustainable ‘cashew trail’

Olam Food Ingredients seeks to chart sustainable 'cashew trail'

Global food giant announces new targets to tackle poverty and enhance environmental sustainability across the cashew supply chain

Cashew nuts might be a kitchen cupboard staple, but how often are consumers made aware of where their favourite snack came from? Today Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) has moved to improve transparency across the cashew nut supply chain, with the publication of a series of sustainability targets aimed at curbing the environmental impact of the popular product and bolstering farmer livelihoods.

The new initiative, dubbed ‘The Cashew Trail’, features a series of ambitious goals to fight farmer poverty by increasing average yields by 50 per cent and helping 250,000 cashew households to improve their livelihoods, while also halving the greenhouse gas emission intensity of the company’s cashew supply chain.

To help deliver on the targets, the strategy also includes a new commitment to supply chain transparency, with OFI aiming to ensure 100 per cent of its own processing volumes are traceable to farmer group-level.

Moreover, 250,000 cashew-farming households are set to benefit from new training programmes and access to inputs such as fertiliser, while children from cashew communities where OFI directly sources are to benefit from investments in education infrastructure.

Ashok Krishen, managing director and CEO of OFI’s nuts business, said: “One of the greatest impacts we can have as a business is to help farmers earn a living income and help protect the environment that nurtures their trees and communities. We’ve worked with customers and partners for over a decade to make the cashew supply chain fairer, stronger and more sustainable, but cashew farmers are still struggling for survival. This is especially true right now with many reporting even lower incomes and lesser food for their daily survival than before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

OFI said it is taking an innovative approach to meeting the sustainability targets, including through the use of a direct purchasing app, which give farmers access to the latest market prices and the ability to negotiate directly rather than through traditional buying agents, thereby retaining more value for their crop.

Progress against the goals set out in the Cashew Trail strategy are to be reported annually and tracked and supported through data that will be made available on Olam’s sustainability insights platform AtSource. The metrics analysed will include data on carbon emissions, water, and land use footprinting, which can then be used by the company’s customers in their own sustainability programmes and consumer communications.

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