Cargill sets clear course for cocoa sustainability
Cargill has published its third report on the progress and achievements of the Cargill Cocoa Promise, its commitment to sparking a more sustainable cocoa sector for generations to come.
Building on a decades-long focus on sustainability, the Cargill Cocoa Promise has so far supported more than 145,000 farmers worldwide with market access, training and resources, while working with almost 500 farmer organisations and cooperatives.
Now the Cargill Cocoa Promise is continuing to evolve to meet the most pressing needs of cocoa farmers and communities, with the establishment of a future pathway aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Harold Poelma, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate president, says, “Supporting smallholder farmers to build more resilient and sustainable businesses has been at the core of our own cocoa and chocolate business ethos for over two decades.
“But the challenges smallholder farmers face have changed – and our strategy has evolved accordingly. Using the learnings and insights gathered over the years, we have charted a course for the future impact of the Cargill Cocoa Promise.”
This year’s report focuses on progress in the areas of direct sourcing, limiting deforestation, improving traceability and building up the socioeconomic resilience of farmers and their wider communities.
85% of Cargill’s sustainable cocoa is sourced directly from farmers through farmer organisations and cooperatives. Working with farmer groups enables Cargill to strengthen these organisations’ own internal capabilities, supporting them to become more efficient, profitable and self-sustaining.
For instance, in 2016-17, farmers in Cote d’Ivoire who implemented the learnings of one-to-one coaching on good farming practices saw their yields increase 49% on average.
Through ongoing global partnership with the humanitarian organisation, CARE, Cargill has introduced more than 175 village savings and loans schemes through Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. This has helped more than 4,000 people – half of whom are women – obtain small loans to start their own businesses.
Cargill is working to entirely eliminate all forms of child labour in the cocoa supply chain and ensure children have a bright future to look forward to. So far, over 145,000 farmers have been trained to understand the worst forms of child labor, and 20,000 children have been provided with access to education and healthcare.
Technology is proving an invaluable tool in driving progress, particularly around more accurate and transparent product traceability. Across the globe, GPS-mapping of more than 56,000 farms is boosting provenance information and informing farm development planning.
Meanwhile in Ghana, 25,000 farmers have signed onto a scheme that allows the organisation to tag and track each bag of cocoa beans Cargill buys back to the farmer. At the point of delivery, farmers are immediately paid via mobile money accounts.
New innovations have a vital role to play in protecting the planet and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Using GPS technology, Cargill conducted a risk assessment of 2.3 million hectares of forest to evaluate habitat type and tree cover loss, as part of its global efforts to eliminate deforestation across agricultural supply chains by 2030. The results serve as a baseline to prioritise interventions and advance sustainable landscape approaches.