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

In collaboration with The Capitals Coalition, Ria Bakshi, Head of Sustainability Accounting, Reporting & Impact for ofi, shares more about the pathbreaking work the Finance for Sustainability (F4S) department has spearheaded in the Non-Financial Capital Accounting sphere, and how this is woven into the organisation’s business decision-making process in a simple, meaningful and transparent manner. This is all showcased in two courses that are free* to enrol on Coursera:

 

 

The objective of these courses is to transition from accounting for profit to accounting for business value delivered for people, the wider society, and 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. 

 

*Coursera charges a fee to receive the course certificate for completion.

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

A4S APAC Launch
Asia Pasific Chapter Of The CFO Leadership Network
F4S Sharing(Reuters)
How Olam, Natura & Co and Kering are taking a regenerative approach to their supply chains
Finance & Talent (FM)
Sustainability accountants: What do they do?
Insights On COP26(FM)
What COP26 commitments mean for accounting and finance
Natural Capital(BT)
Olam among first in Singapore market to report detailed natural capital accounts

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.

FAQs

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 (https://capitalscoalition.org/)

 

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.

 

 Indicator 

Valuation Scope

Main Data 
 Inputs

Valuation 
 Approach

 Cost /
 Benefit

Country
 Specific

Watershed
 Specific

Biome
 Specific

 Land Use

 

 

Y

 Farmed
 Area 

 Gain in biome specific   benefits (Ecosystem
 services) 

 Benefit

 GHG
 Emissions

Y

 

 

 Total GHG
 emissions

 Social cost of carbon

 Cost

 GHG
 Sequestration

Y

 

 

 Carbon  Sequestered

 Benefit of sequestered carbon

 Benefit

 Water
 Consumption

 

Y

 

 Water 
 consumption

 Human and ecosystem damage cost

 Cost

 Water
 Pollution

 

Y

 

 Fertiliser 
 chemicals and components

 Human damage cost

 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.

Read ofi news

Press Release Apr 30, 2024
ofi cocoa shares how transparency and traceability are driving sustainability impact for food & beverage sector 

ofi (olam food ingredients), a global leader in naturally good food and beverage ingredients, says developments in data and technology – from granular deforestation mapping and child labor monitoring to AI-powered carbon measurement tools – are accelerating progress towards its Cocoa Compass sustainability ambition. It is also providing food and beverage companies with enhanced traceability and transparency ahead of new regulations in Europe and beyond.

 

The latest Cocoa Compass highlights based on 2022 data include:

  • New analysis showing over 30,168 farmers in ofi’s cocoa supply chain are earning a living income[1], putting the business on track to reach its 2030 target of 150,000 cocoa farmers earning a living income.
  • A 395% increase in the number of children receiving education support in 2022, compared to the 2018 baseline.
  • A 15% increase in the number of households covered by ofi’s Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS).
  • 6 million trees distributed by ofi, working with its customers and partners, for agroforestry and income diversification, from 2018 to 2022.
  • 79% of farms in ofi’s sustainability programs have been polygon mapped[2]

 

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Indonesia Mission Director, Jeff Cohen, said: "We are proud to be working together with ofi and the Hershey Company to encourage cocoa farmers to adopt more sustainable agriculture practices—like diversifying their crops and allowing more trees to remain on their land—which will strengthen their resilience against climate shocks and improve their livelihoods[3].”

Articles Apr 25, 2024
Assessing Natural Capital costs in coffee operations

How do you differentiate between the environmental impacts of organizations across different geographies, local conditions, products, local regulations etc.?

For several years, ofi has been working towards assessing the true value (cost or benefits) of some of our operations on the ground. Our latest case study on Natural Capital Valuation: Assessing Natural Capital costs in coffee operations, delves into year-on-year monetary impact of our select coffee growing operations in five origins.

 

Globally, an estimated 12.5 million to 25 million smallholder farmers depend on the coffee industry for their livelihoods, according to figures from Fairtrade1 and the FAO2. However, the majority of these farmers face significant challenges including limited access to formal agronomy training, inadequate resources, small farm sizes and insecure land tenure. These factors often hinder the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, which are crucial for preserving Natural Capital over the medium and long term. As a result, coffee production often imposes a cost on nature in the form of GHG emissions, degradation of soil structure and fertility, depletion of ground and surface water, and loss of natural ecosystem services critical to agricultural production.

 

To address these challenges, we employ Natural Capital valuation techniques, which leverage environmental economics to assign a monetary value (US$) to our impacts and dependencies, encompassing carbon emissions, water usage and ecosystem services. Quantifying Natural Capital in this way enables us to assess and mitigate risks while fostering investments that promote a positive impact on landscapes and ecosystem.

 

We evaluated twenty AtSource+ coffee farmer groups sourced from five different origins3 to assess their GHG emissions and water use related Natural Capital Costs (NCC). Reporting on the NCC is based on each metric tonne of product which makes the cost intensities very sensitive/ dependent on farm level yields. Thus, understanding the underlying yield dynamics is also crucial for interpreting these NCC footprints effectively.

Articles Apr 24, 2024
Helping farming communities meet their own health and nutrition needs

The combined expertise of our local sustainability teams with partners such as Funcafé, TechnoServe, Côte d’Ivoire's National Nutrition program, USAID (United States Agency for International Development), and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) delivers solutions to improve access to clean water, healthcare services and supplies, and nutritious food.

 

Initiatives range from using geo-location to identify and screen for infant malnutrition in farming communities in Côte d'Ivoire - where one in five children experience stunted growth and development - to fortifying key staples with vitamins and minerals in our processing facilities.

Talk to us about Finance for Sustainability

Whether you’re interested in enquiring about our practices or partnering with us, we want to hear from you.