ofi reaffirms commitment to a more resilient coffee supply chain

olam food ingredients (ofi), leading green coffee origin exporter, has announced that its coffee teams in 18 origins around the world have reached 105,000 farmers with sustainability support – over halfway towards a target of 200,000 by 2025.

The support covers training, technical assistance, fertiliser and seedlings, and access to higher value markets, and has translated into various productivity and income improvements for farmers under ofi’s managed sustainability programmes. These include 32% average yield increases for farmers in San Martín, Peru and certification premiums worth US$830,000 distributed amongst 14,000+ farmers in Aceh and North Sumatra regions in Indonesia.

These achievements are part of Coffee LENS (Livelihoods, Education and Nature at Scale), ofi’s sustainability ambition for the future of coffee and published in the first impact report. It sets out the progress made in collaboration with customers and partners across 40+ sustainability projects against its 2025 goals, which include targets on farmer livelihoods, child labour prevention, and climate action.

Since the launch of these targets in October 2020, coffee prices have recovered from a four-year low to reach record highs. However, Vivek Verma, CEO, Coffee at ofi, points out that this will only offer temporary respite to the world’s 12.5m smallholders and is therefore a compelling reason to maintain focus on scaling up action: “The already ‘better off’ farmers with larger farms are those that stand to benefit most from periods of high prices. Meanwhile, the increasing volatility of the coffee price cycle that we’ve witnessed for over 40 years, combined with the impacts of climate change, are raising questions over the viability of smallholder coffee production.

“Coffee LENS is challenging us to do more to contribute to a fairer, more resilient coffee future, while continuing to deliver high-quality sustainable ingredients to our roasters and manufacturing customers.”

The report also shares other key milestones including the introduction of a digital child labour monitoring and remediation system (CLMRS), planting two million trees to promote regenerative agriculture, rejuvenating soils across land equivalent to 11,000 football fields, and the ability to offer customers verified traceability for 100% of its directly sourced coffee. The data collected by ofi at farm level, feeds into the sustainability insights platform AtSource, providing customers with the social and environmental footprint of their coffee purchases, which then informs continuous improvement programmes.

Verma continues: “The level of data and insight we now have at our fingertips helps us identify how and where to act with our partners. Now, we need to bring in more partners – from industry, governments, and NGOs – to our existing programmes to scale up impact. I’m confident that together, we can build on what we’ve achieved to deliver our longer-term goals while supporting our purpose to be the change for good food and a healthy future.”

Erica Kostense-Smit, Rainforest Alliance, added: “We welcome the public commitments ofi has set for its coffee business. Big businesses have the power and resources to implement sustainability solutions on a massive scale – catalysing positive change for critically important landscapes and the livelihoods for millions of rural people. We invite ofi to continue the journey with Rainforest Alliance towards a world where people and nature thrive together.”

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