Driving ethical trade: Olam International

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Formed by the Kewalram Chanrai Group in 1989, Olam Nigeria Plc was established to facilitate a non-oil-based export operation to bring hard currency earnings into the group to meet the foreign exchange requirements of its other companies.

However, the operation was such a success that Olam International was born to export many more goods, from cashews and shea nuts to cotton and cocoa. Within a few years, the company had expanded across Africa and into South Asia.


Today, the company is a global leader in these export fields and many more. Now headquartered in Singapore, Olam International ranks among the top 30 largest primary listed companies in the country in terms of market capitalisation. It is also a Fortune Global 500 company and is included in the FTSE4Good Index Series, an internationally recognised benchmark for environmental, social and governance metrics.

This commitment to ethical trade has also seen Olam International implement rigorous tractability and reporting systems to reduce child labour in agriculture. At the time, it was the first such initiative of its scale. The company is also one of the founding members of the Sustainable Rice Platform, which promotes resource efficiency and sustainable trade flows in the global rice sector.

For initiatives like these, Olam International has received an Impact Award for digital innovation and was recognised at the Reuters Responsible Business Awards and The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry Sustainable Agriculture Awards.

On top of its work in the area of ethical trade, Olam International also generates impressive financial returns. Revenues in 2021 exceeded SGD 47bn.

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