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Olam subsidiary ofi names new Chief Sustainability Officer

Roel van Poppel replaces Gerard Manley, who retired as CSO last June.
Melodie Michel
Olam subsidiary ofi names new Chief Sustainability Officer
Roel van Poppel, Chief Sustainability Officer at Olam subsidiary ofi

Food ingredients company ofi, a subsidiary of global agribusiness Olam, has named Roel van Poppel as its new Chief Sustainability Officer, in an effort to drive positive impact in the cocoa, coffee, dairy, nuts, and spices supply chains.

Olam is one of the 14 founding members of the First Movers Coalition for Food, which aims to procure between US$10 billion and US$20 billion of low-carbon farming commodities.

Its subsidiary ofi was formed in 2020 and sources ingredients for food and beverage products. The company reported revenues of US$12.1 billion in 2022, and plans to seek an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange, but has delayed the move due to market conditions.

Van Poppel replaces Gerard Manley, who retired as CSO last June. As a member of the corporate leadership team reporting directly to CEO A. Shekhar, he will be responsible for ofi’s sustainability efforts across all sectors and geographies. Within this mandate, he will seek to address the multiple social and environmental challenges in food supply chains such as farmer poverty, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Preparing for regulatory changes

Among key areas of focus, van Poppel will be tasked with embedding ofi’s sustainability strategy and goals into procurement to deliver positive outcomes for farmers and customers, and drive sustainable change across the company’s value chain using management system AtSource, which he helped to develop.

Part of his work will also be dedicated to preparing for regulatory changes – which are expected to be profound as countries begin to integrate food systems into their national carbon targets, continue the development of tools to address key sector issues and drive transparent reporting.

Van Poppel held senior leadership roles at Cargill and Wild Flavors before joining Olam Group in 2013 as the global commercial lead for its spices business. He then moved internally to lead the growth of sustainability insights management system AtSource and co-founded industry-led sustainability measurement digital platform TRACT. 

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “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.”