ofi appoints chief sustainability officer driving environmental and social policy standards

Ingredients specialist, ofi, has enhanced its focus on key environmental and social responsibility topics with the appointment of Roel van Poppel as its chief sustainability officer (CSO), writes Neill Barston.

As the business revealed, the new postholder will target driving positive impact across its five product areas of cocoa, coffee, dairy, nuts and spices, across a total of 50 nations.

Roel, who will report to CEO A. Shekhar, is an industry leader with extensive experience across both ingredients and sustainability. This includes senior leadership roles at Cargill and Wild Flavors before joining ofi’s parent company Olam Group in 2013 as the global commercial lead for its spices business.

According to the company, he then moved internally to lead the growth of the award-winning sustainability insights management system AtSource. Most recently, Roel was seconded by Olam Group as a co-founder of the wider industry led sustainability measurement digital platform TRACT.

ofi (Olam Food ingredients), stated it has set its stall out with a renewed focus on sustainable sourcing within its global supply chains. Along with his leadership team, Roel will bring further focus to ofi’s rich experience and deep expertise in addressing the multiple social and environmental challenges in food supply chains such as farmer poverty, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions.

As the business noted, he will be tasked with a number of core areas, including embedding ofi’s strategy on sustainability, delivering goals for farmer communities within its supply chains, as well as its customers and partners.

The company’s newly installed sustainability officer, who will also be joining its management team, is set to be responsible for engaging with stakeholder groups, addressing key issues within the agricultural sector, including tackling anticipated regulatory changes impacting on the sector – which will include the new EU due diligence regulatory frameworks due to begin at the end of 2024.

CEO, A. Shekhar welcomed him to the business. He said: “Sustainability sits at the heart of ofi’s business model so that we can partner with customers who want their products to benefit farmers and the planet. Roel brings the perfect mix of strategic vision, business acumen and commercial leadership to inspire the whole of ofi to continually deliver on our purpose to Be the Change for Good Food and a Healthy Future.”

Speaking on his appointment, Roel van Poppel added: “It’s a privilege to lead the ofi Sustainability team with its depth of expertise and relentless commitment. My mission is to grow the reach of ofi’s programs even further, collaborating with customers and suppliers on the ground to drive positive impact. Together, we will ignite greater opportunities and game-changing outcomes for ofi and our partners.”


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