An environmental footprinting tool for transparent and sustainable agri-food sourcing
Olam International is a leading food and agri-business, supplying food and industrial raw materials to over 25,000 customers worldwide, from well-known global brands to small businesses. The company partnered with Quantis to develop the Digital Footprint Calculator, a complement to its sustainable sourcing solution AtSource. The new tool offers insights on the environmental impacts of products across different supply chains and geographies from the farm-level up to the customer.
“This project is an important and ambitious undertaking for Olam and I could not think of a better partner than Quantis for it. Quantis’ unique combination of expertise in environmental science and creativity, has made this project a success.”
Tom Oldfield, PhD
AtSource Metric Manager
Consumer and stakeholder demand for sustainable products is on the rise. As a result, food and beverage companies across the world are being faced with the challenge of driving transformational change and providing greater transparency across their complex supply chains.
Olam’s AtSource tool enables its customers to meet these expectations by providing access to information on the causes and types of impacts occurring in their supply chains, tracing them all the way back to farm level. With this information, food companies are empowered to shape change on the ground and drive social and environmental improvements at scale. Olam partnered with Quantis to integrate environmental sustainability metrics into AtSource and translate that data into environmental impacts — a major challenge, given the large scale of Olam’s global operations.
To drive meaningful improvements in the agri-food supply chain requires the collection and analysis of on-farm data on a massive scale, covering hundreds of crop-country combinations. Furthermore, for comprehensive impact analysis, it is also important to account for the impacts and benefits of agricultural practices, such as land management practices that can influence the amount of carbon sequestered on the farm, something that is not yet well addressed by conventional environmental footprinting methodologies. To make this data actionable and compatible with AtSource required expertise in effectively translating environmental metrics into a cutting-edge IT solution.
Quantis worked closely with Olam’s sustainability and IT teams to develop The Digital Footprint Calculator, an online tool that converts agricultural and processing data into comprehensive insights on environmental impacts. To analyze the data, Quantis used LCA-based approaches and innovative methods to account for the impacts and benefits of agricultural practices.
In 2020, Olam’s AtSource tool was awarded the Responsible Supply Chain Award from Reuters Events’ Responsible Business Awards. Here’s what the judges had to say: “AtSource is a highly innovative and scalable plus well-established model that allows Olam’s customers – for the first time – to track the social and environmental footprint of a product from the farmer group, to their factory gate. It uses 150 economic, social and environmental metrics. Bringing transparency to what has been a rather opaque part of the commodity industry. Very much leading a new, sustainable path for their industry.”
By integrating The Digital Footprint Calculator into AtSource, it becomes the most complete and comprehensive sustainable sourcing platform in the agri-food sector. With AtSource, Olam empowers its customers with the data needed to identify hotspots and track progress towards their sustainability targets.
5+ Lesson Learned
Automating environmental impacts is a key step to process large amounts of data, yet human insight and interpretation is still needed to understand the actions that can follow to make positive change.