Barry Callebaut makes strides with Forever Chocolate sustainability drive

Swiss headquartered business Barry Callebaut has released a key update on its Forever Chocolate initiative, with its latest progress report for the financial year 2018/19 revealing that it sourced 47% of the cocoa and 54% of the other ingredients it uses sustainably.

Improvements in its performance have been tracked since the launch of the campaign in 2016, which aims to make sustainable chocolate the norm within the sector.

CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique welcomed the latest results, which he believed placed it in line to achieve its overall sourcing goals within the next five years, as a number of leading confectionery groups including Mars and Mondelez International have moved to create their own equivalent environmental strategies over the past few years.

“With over half of our ingredients coming from sustainable sources, we are well on track to have 100% sustainable chocolate by 2025. This is a great achievement and it demonstrates that sustainability is at the heart of our business strategy.

The company explained that its Forever Chocolate scheme is based on four targets, to be achieved by 2025, that address the largest sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain.

These include more than 500,000 cocoa farmers will have been lifted out of poverty, eradicating child labour from the supply chain, becoming carbon and forest positive, and delivering 100% sustainable ingredients in all products.

As Confectionery Production recently covered, the business recently launched its cacaofruit chocolate series that significantly reducing waste in the initial production processes, which links closely to the company’s overall sustainability goals.

“In the past fiscal year we focused on big innovative projects that we know will create the tipping point for a sustainable chocolate supply chain. Our progress report shows that this focus is working, creating tangible impact on the ground for cocoa farmers, cocoa farming communities and all the other players in our supply chain,” said Pablo Perversi, chief innovation, sustainability and quality officer, Global Head of Gourmet, of Barry Callebaut.

Of all the agricultural raw materials Barry Callebaut sourced, 51% were sustainably sourced in 2018/19. The Group sourced 47% (2017/18: 44%) of its cocoa beans through sustainability programs. This percentage includes the Group’s Cocoa Horizons program as well as its customers’ own programs and external certification organisations such as UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and Organic.

Furthermore, Barry Callebaut sourced 54% (2017/18: 44%) of its non-cocoa agricultural raw materials sustainably. This includes the use of sustainability certification schemes for the respective ingredients.

In order to have more than 500,000 cocoa farmers lifted out of poverty by 2025, the Group is mapping the cocoa farms in its supply chain. As of end 2018/19 the Group had full data on 176,984 farms and their farmers entered into its Katchilè database. This database provides key insights into the location, farm size, socio-economic and household data of cocoa farms and their farmers. This data allows Barry Callebaut to offer tailor-made advice at individual farm level on how to improve productivity via Farm Business Plans and Farm Services.

Over 16,000 farmers have adopted Farm Business Plans and 49,909 ( up 303%) farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Brazil and Indonesia have access to farm services, including coaching as well as other inputs such as tools, seedlings and finance.

As the company noted, the premiums from the purchase of Horizons products generated CHF 15 million in funds (+40%). These premiums allowed more than 135,000 farmers to take part in programs focusing on improving their productivity and income.

These premiums also financed child labor sensitisation programs, training 27,448 farmers. Measured against the World Bank’s threshold of USD 1.90/day, Barry Callebaut estimates that 184,623 cocoa farmers in its supply chain have been lifted out of poverty.

In terms of moving to tackle child labour issues, the company also rolled out child labor monitoring and remediation systems in its direct cocoa supply chain that now cover 42 farmer groups, including 16,710 farmers, in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Including the farmer groups that have monitoring and remediation systems in place administered by third parties (i.e. UTZ Certified), in total 26% of the farmer groups the Group directly sourced from in 2018/19 had systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor, an increase of +116%. 37% of the cocoa and non-cocoa volume Barry Callebaut sourced from third-party suppliers had equivalent child labour monitoring systems in place.

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