Singapore's Olam 'to be more activist in tackling global challenges': CEO

Mr Sunny Verghese, chief executive of Olam, at his office in Suntec on Nov 29, 2012. Agricultural firm Olam International wants to be play a more activist role in pushing for change in the most important global challenges in the next 25 years. -
Mr Sunny Verghese, chief executive of Olam, at his office in Suntec on Nov 29, 2012. Agricultural firm Olam International wants to be play a more activist role in pushing for change in the most important global challenges in the next 25 years. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING

SINGAPORE - Agricultural firm Olam International wants to be play a more activist role in pushing for change in the most important global challenges in the next 25 years.

It identified six key challenges to tackle: food security, water security, climate change, energy security, sustainable growth and inequality.

In a blog post written on Tuesday, Olam's chief executive officer Sunny Verghese said he wants the firm, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, to stay true to its corporate motto of "Growing Responsibly".

Instead of dwelling on past glories of 25 years of success, he challenged the company to do more to help tackle some of the most difficult problems the world is facing.

"I believe, however, that rather than looking at where we are with satisfaction, we must be restless about the future. Because of the scale, diversity and rich experience of our business, in our next 25 years we have an additional role to play - that of activist," he wrote.

Olam is one of the largest agricultural traders and producers in the world and has large plantations in many emerging markets such as Africa.

He did not state specifically what this role of being an activist entailed but said that the company "be a voice in prompting awareness of these fundamental challenges."

"The issues and opportunities around the use of natural capital will be an important topic that we will be saying and doing more on throughout our 25th anniversary year."

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