Finance for Sustainability

One of the six principals of ofi and Olam’s Strategic Plan is to focus on Long-Term Value.

This depends in part on the active management of six non-financial capitals, which we report against in our annual reports. These capitals are not universally assessed in current reporting frameworks, despite driving a significant portion of a company’s market value, so we challenged ourselves to re-imagine business reporting.


Olam first began reporting against these capitals in its 2017 Annual Report. A task force has been setup since, to evaluate Olam’s approach to multi-capital accounting and establish a numerical link to sustainability using multi-capital accounting methodologies. This led to the development of the Integrated Impact Statement (IIS).

“Sustainability is at the heart of ofi. The IIS gives finance and business teams the needed numerical link between actions on the ground, as well as their impact and dependency on the Capitals. This will help in both improving the understanding of the Capitals and in taking necessary steps towards increasing the long-term value for the company.”

Rishi Kalra | Executive Director and Group Chief Financial Officer, ofi

Testing our methodologies

In 2018, Olam piloted the initial IIS tool with three business units – Dairy (Russia), Cocoa (Côte d’Ivoire) and Palm (Gabon) – covering Natural, Social and Human capital. The tool was also independently validated and shared with experts for their input and further refinement.

Making it business as usual

In 2019, a dedicated Finance for Sustainability (F4S) department was created to further develop the multi-capital accounting methodologies, to act as a centre of excellence and to help embed capitals accounting within the organisation. F4S will leverage the expertise of Finance and Accounting to help address the most pressing supply chain sustainability issues. To enhance business decision-making, the IIS is also being deployed at profit centre level.

Taking the initiative forward

F4S will uncover hidden costs and benefits not previously reported, support the leveraging of sustainable financing to address the most pressing supply chain sustainability issues and help support the business to “be the change for good food and a healthy future”. Our vision is to be a best-in-class business partner, responsible for maximizing long-term intrinsic value for all our stakeholders using non-financial drivers of value.


In 2021, we performed a monetary valuation of material natural capital (NC) impacts and dependencies by assigning an approximate monetary impact value. The outcomes are illustrated in our NC Profit and Loss statement (NC P&L) and NC Balance Sheet (NCBS) under the IIS.

Inspiring the Finance Leaders of Tomorrow

As part of the Valuing nature and people to inform business decision-making online training course in collaboration with The Capitals Coalition, Ria Bakshi, Lead Finance for Sustainability at ofi, shares more about the pathbreaking work the Finance for Sustainability (F4S) department has spearheaded around Natural Capital Accounting and how it has woven that into the organisation’s business decision making process in a simple, meaningful, and transparent manner.


The objective of this course is to transition from accounting for profit to accounting for business value delivered for the planet. It seeks to ignite businesses to contribute, collaborate and create methodologies which value impact from a lens that is not calibrated to just financial implications. 

Internalization of externalities

F4S will internalize externalities via ourproduct platforms, supporting strategic financial business decisions and influencing significant stakeholders, bringing finance and sustainability concepts together.

Accountants’ culture and mindset change

With no formal framework for measuring these capitals, we needed a better way to measure, quantify and report our long-term “invisible” value. F4S will create partnerships and collaborations to grow this mindset. 

Common numerical language

We use a common numerical language – where applicable – that everyone can understand, evaluate and articulate. IIS allows ofi to explain the impact of our actions on the ground to all internal and external stakeholders.

Embedding multi-capital accounting

The IIS takes a systems approach that captures the complexity and reality of today’s diverse and intertwined “eco-agrifood” systems, providing a holistic picture to business decision-making, avoiding the risks and limitations inherent in simplistic metrics such as “productivity per hectare”, which ignores Natural Capital stocks, flows, outcomes and impacts. The IIS approach will increase business resilience, allowing ofi to make changes on the ground, to mitigate the risks associated with carbon taxes, biodiversity loss or procurement concerns. Uncovering these risks and opportunities will enable us to better prepare and respond to the challenges of tomorrow. 


We believe the IIS will positively change and differentiate the way we operate and with whom. We are better informed about our Natural, Social and Human capital impact and can provide actionable management information to better understand key impact areas (by farmer group, by country, by product, and devise more appropriate plans to address externalities and enhance positive impacts. ofi endeavours to become a resilient and more reliant partner for all our stakeholders by ensuring the creation of long-term value.

F4S in the News

At ofi, we believe our finance teams are well-positioned to help businesses embed sustainability issues into a company’s risk and performance management. Our work aims to re-imagine the valuation approach and integrate the positions of key non-financial capitals in our business decisions. Find out more on how we are driving conversations across different platforms and sharing more about our work.

How Olam is putting natural capital accounting into action 

In a new research paper by Eco-Business on the financial mechanisms to protect biodiversity, the Olam and ofi teams explain how we’re accounting for our impacts on the healthy future of our planetthrough our IIS. 

Better decision making by knowing the true value of food

The Olam team was pleased to contribute to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) latest publication on the True Value of Food, aimed at guiding business leaders in accounting for the real value of food in their decisions and action.


What is the Integrated Impact Statement?

The Capitals drive Long-Term Value and underpin a significant portion of a company’s market value. The Integrated Impact Statement (IIS) is a decision-making tool, which allows ofi to manage Long-Term Value. This tool will help embed sustainability concepts – such as multi-capital accounting – into the heart of our business, through finance.


The IIS tool is made up of 3 elements: Profit and Loss; Balance Sheet; and Risk and Opportunity Statement; and covers three Capitals;


Natural Capital: The land, water, biodiversity and other ecosystem services required for food, feed and fibre production. This includes the accounting for renewable and non-renewable environmental resources which ofi depends on for its long-term sustainable operations and associated externalities.


Social Capital: The relationships we forge and nurture for long-term commercial success. This includes the accounting for external stakeholders in society – community, institutions and ofi’s contributions to those relationships through its community-based programmes.


Human Capital: The talent, skills, dedication and inspiration of our workforce and management, and our responsibilities towards them. This includes the accounting for all internal stakeholders, our workforce and management – which ofi relies upon and contributes to, through training and capacity building – and safe and healthy workplaces where rights are respected.


Like a control tower, the IIS decision-making tool effectively reports and allows ofi to manage long-term value.


The IIS leverages existing frameworks by  Accounting for Sustainabilitythe Capitals Coalition and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgriFood).



Source of framework: Capitals Coalition (


What is the IIS Natural Capital scope and results?

F4S in 2019 developed the IIS for the Cocoa business. A summary of some insights from Cocoa’s IIS on key aspects of Natural Capital is presented in Olam’s Annual Report 2019.


The insights from IIS can positively change and differentiate the way we operate and with whom we operate. We are now better informed about our Natural, Social and Human Capital impact, and can provide actionable management information to enable our Business Units to better understand their key impact areas (by Farmer Group level, by country, by commodity), and devise more appropriate plans. This way ofi endeavours to become a resilient and more reliant partner for all our stakeholders by ensuring the creation of Long-Term Value.


The IIS Natural Capital valuation scope is detailed in the table below.



Valuation Scope

Main Data 


 Cost /




 Land Use





 Gain in biome specific   benefits (Ecosystem






 Total GHG

 Social cost of carbon






 Carbon  Sequestered

 Benefit of sequestered carbon







 Human and ecosystem damage cost






 chemicals and components

 Human damage cost


Capital accounting transparency (Caveat)

The ofi IIS is not related to financial results or financial reporting. All underlying methodologies are based on well-established databases and frameworks, but as they depend on formula and third-party expert studies, they can only ever be an approximation. The results are for internal purposes only. In the coming years, results could be readjusted according to further methodological refinements. Taken together however, the IIS is a valuable sustainability tool that can help uncover issues and provoke questions necessary to be the change for good food and a healthy future.

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What motivates you when you wake up and come into work?


My team! There are six of us who are 100% dedicated to the Spices eCommerce business and we have a combined 35+ years’ experience at ofi. Together, we work to be a solution provider for new and existing customers, put in place processes to help the business grow and overcome any challenges that are thrown our way.


Anything you’d like to add to help others succeed?


Being in numerous different positions throughout my career (supply chain, product line, sales) has made me a more well-rounded employee and allowed me to view problems from many different angles to find better solutions. I’m glad that I joined a company that offered career growth and expansion. Being a sponge during the early stages of my career allowed me to soak up lots of different information.


What has been your favorite moment at ofi so far?


When I was a product line manager, there was a large fast-food chain that featured one of our ingredients in a delicious and highly promoted LTO. It was so cool to go through the drive thru, pick up lunch, and know that one of the products that I helped to sell was in an item that was being sold across the country.


Our company purpose is ‘be the change for good food and a healthy future.’ In what way do you live our purpose through your work?


Through the eCommerce offerings, we can connect with new customers and segments that have previously been difficult to reach. This allows us to work with new customers to make educated purchasing decisions about where their product comes from, our sustainability offerings, and more. Outside of work, I sit on the Board of Directors for the Central California Food Bank which feeds over 300,000 community members in the Central Valley.


Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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