Meet our leader of sustainability, Olivier Tichit
By Tiffany Goh
Since the launch of our sustainability policy in 2014, Musim Mas has been learning and making progress. Our approach has evolved with our deepened understanding of the complexity surrounding our supply chain, the industry, and systemic challenges. This year, we are improving our sustainability policy and strengthening our NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation) commitments. It will focus on improving livelihoods, delivering positive environmental impacts, maintaining an enduring relationship with suppliers, customers, and stakeholders, and driving innovation in sustainable practices.
We aspire to be a responsible leader in the evolution of the palm oil industry. To deliver our ambitious goal, having strong leadership and stewardship is vital.
Meet Olivier Tichit – Musim Mas’ Director of Sustainable Supply Chain. Having worked as a tropical agronomist with over 20 years of experience in South East Asia’s commodity sector, Olivier takes on a bigger challenge at Musim Mas, given the Group’s leadership position to enable change in the industry. Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, English, and French, Olivier calls Indonesia home after residing in Medan for more than 15 years.
Overseeing the supply base of Musim Mas, Olivier envisions bringing his team and the Group to move towards greater reporting and traceability, with improved sustainability standards and collaboration to transform the industry.
I spoke to Olivier who talks passionately about his interest in sustainability and what he thinks is the missing link to making sustainable palm oil the norm.
What sparked your interest in sustainability?
Smallholders. It’s really about working with smallholders. When you work with smallholders, you will understand how rational they are and how well they react to the market. With them, sustainability is possible. To produce sustainably, we must link them to the market for them to understand what the market is, and for the market to understand what the smallholders are doing. We must find ways to make them feel their good practices are valued and rewarded. Wanting smallholders to have better lives and to be able to work in a better way has sparked my interest in sustainability.
What can hinder the industry’s transformation towards sustainability?
Sustainability is a great concept that everybody can agree with, but it doesn’t happen easily. People might think, “Why should I put in the extra effort to produce sustainably by being transparent and open? Tomorrow, someone else might buy my crops without asking any questions. That person might not come back the next day, but I would be able to make profits without having to demonstrate what I’m doing.” And that kind of thought is the biggest threat to sustainability.
In Musim Mas, we want long term relationships with our suppliers and smallholders. We may go a little bit slower or make mistakes, but we keep our eyes on the bigger goal: to transform the supply chain, our suppliers, and ourselves. This is not about a short game; this is about a long-term value of sustainability.
You’ve been in various roles (e.g. agronomist, trader) in the oil palm industry, and lived in Indonesia for decades, what do you think is the missing link to deforestation-free and exploitation-free supply base?
The missing link is indeed a link. It’s a link between the producers and the consumers, how we transfer the value of sustainability in the palm products to the consumers. It goes quite deep in the supply chain. It’s about the producers, farmers, processors, and the people who will then pass the products to the consumers. And for the consumers to be able to understand and recognize the sustainable value of the products.
To watch Olivier’s thoughts on why a sustainability policy is needed and why it needs to be reviewed and updated regularly, click the video below: