Originally Nigerian but now based in Singapore, Olam is a multinational agribusiness which uses Vietnam as a “centre of excellence” for its Asian trade operations, a hub from which it imports commodities from all over the world, processes them and then redistributes products throughout the region.
Prakash said a big advantage was Vietnam’s absence of tariffs and its position as a “gateway” to ASEAN.
“We get a zero-tariff treatment wherever we export across ASEAN, as well as China,” he said. “But the icing on the cake is it's pretty easy to set up operations in Vietnam.”
“We get the fastest route to market we find across countries… and the qualities of people is fantastic. They get on with it, they are hungry and our people just do an amazing job.”
Prakash also spoke about the importance Olam places on operating sustainably. Like us at ANZ, he sees it as fundamental to Olam’s sense of purpose as a company.
“Growing responsibly is now a central motive of Olam,” he said. “We believe sustainability is not a catchword - it needs to be embedded in our day to day lives as individuals, as well as in our operations.”
“For sustained agri production in a consistent and sustainable way, we need to incorporate sustainability. The key challenge for us is how do we embedded it in a business idea and create value out of it? I think that is the idea that is really the Holy Grail for us.”
At ANZ, when we talk about sustainability, we mean all three elements of ESG - environmental, social and governance. Without them ANZ – or indeed any company – cannot hope to be truly sustainable. We couldn’t deliver consistent, future earnings for our shareholders; or a rewarding place to work for our employers; or support the communities in which we operate.
But we must ‘walk the talk’ by managing our own impact, promoting a culture of sustainability and, above all, working with customers to help and support them to be more sustainable too.
At ANZ, we’re making sure who we bank and what we finance is driving a just transition to a more sustainable future.
That can mean supporting our larger customers to invest in projects with positive environmental outcomes - for example by arranging the largest sustainable loan in the Asia Pacific and supporting Investa Commercial Property Fund build their low carbon commercial property portfolio.
Just as Olam is working with customers and suppliers, we are in active discussions with our largest corporate customers in carbon-intensive industries as they look at further ways to cut emissions and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.