Ferrero achieves target of sourcing 100% sustainable cocoa supplies

Cocoa farming in West Africa, photo, WCF

The Ferrero confectionery group has confirmed it has achieved a target of sourcing 100% sustainable cocoa through independently managed standards, reports Neill Barston.

As the company noted, its latest goal was achieved at the end of December 2020, and it is continuing to build on this with key progress towards complete traceability and due diligence across its supply chains.

Among the key elements of its work is a renewal of a strategic partnership with Save the Children, involving an €8 investment in a five-year venture in Ivory Coast that was initiated in 2017 across 20 communities addressing protection of young people in cocoa communities.

The company’s latest move follows in the wake of its additional pledge last month on transparency, identifying its core supplying farms in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ecuador and Colombia.

A decade ago, Ferrero made a commitment to source 100% sustainable cocoa beans via independently managed standards by 2020 to help improve cocoa farmers’ living conditions and foster sustainable practices.

In 2019, the company broadened the scope of this target to include the chocolate sourced from third parties, and the company said it was proud to have achieved that goal.

In practice, this means that Ferrero sources sustainable cocoa through leading certification bodies and other independently managed standards such as Rainforest Alliance (UTZ), Fairtrade, and Cocoa Horizons. This ensures that the company can optimally benefit from their different strengths, enriching its overarching cocoa sustainability strategy, which continues to develop.

Sourcing strategy

Ferrero’s cocoa sourcing strategy is based on a distinctive set of principles that enable the company to implement due diligence throughout its supply chain and apply targeted solutions.

The company confirmed it is able to reach a high traceability from farms to consumers due to its distinctive approach of sourcing the far majority of its cocoa as raw beans, which are processed within its own production plants.

Notably, the beans are sourced as physically traceable – also known as “segregated”– from dedicated farmer groups. This means that the company knows which farms the cocoa comes from, which helps to identify issues and drive positive change on the ground together with cooperatives and farmers.

In the 19/20 crop season, Ferrero managed to trace over 95% of its total cocoa beans back to the farms and it is strongly advancing on the traceability of the chocolate sourced from third parties.

Also, the company is making considerable progress on mapping the farmers in its supply chain as part of its commitment to prevent deforestation, and on covering farmer groups with a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System or equivalent systems.

Another major focus of Ferrero’s programme is to empower women and reduce gender inequality. For instance, Ferrero has so far supported around 14,000 cocoa community members being mainly women in getting access to small loans for entrepreneurial activities.

These initiatives are part of Ferrero’s wider commitment to deliver on its sustainability strategy – to improve farmers’ livelihoods, protect children’s rights, and safeguard the environment.

Ferrero and Save the Children expand partnership

Ferrero is seeking to go further with its Ferrero Farming Values Cocoa programme, particularly in protecting children’s rights.

The company’s joint venture with Save the Children is expected to  directly benefit 37,000 children and adults, and a total of 90,000 through mass awareness and outreach activities. This is a major action pledge as part of the UN’s International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

The renewed partnership will see scaled up activities in 65 communities in the Ivorian Haut-Sassandra region where Ferrero sources a significant amount of cocoa. The holistic programme will strengthen child protection systems, increase access to quality education and nutrition, support community development and empower women and adolescents.

Ferrero and Save the Children will closely coordinate with national and local authorities and other industry initiatives to create synergies where possible and maximise impact.

A new dimension in the partnership will be for Save the Children to provide strategic guidance and technical support to Ferrero and its suppliers to ensure a harmonised approach on child protection across Ferrero’s supply chain in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Marco Gonçalves, Chief Procurement & Hazelnut Company Officer, welcomed the company’s progress on sustainability.

He said: “We continue to address the crucial human rights issues around our supply chains and to strengthen our due diligence. However, child labour in cocoa growing communities remains a significant issue, and we’re determined to go further to meet the challenge. That is why I am so pleased that we are extending our partnership with Save the Children with a particular focus on prevention to grow our impact on this issue. That way we can help drive meaningful long-term change, not only in our direct supply chain but also beyond.”

Daniela Fatarella, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Italy, noted that child labour remains a major issue in West Africa and has its roots in poverty, with a lack of basic education and awareness also fundamental matters that require addressing.

She said: “Only by trying to address these problems together with key relevant stakeholders, we can manage to make child protection, access to quality education and adolescents and youth empowerment, central assets for the communities’ development.

“For this reason, we are glad to work together with Ferrero and to support the company’s commitment to contributing to a fair and sustainable cocoa supply chain, in coordination with the relevant actors. Thanks to all these efforts, thousands of children will have significant improvements in their lives.”

Besides working to protect children and communities in its own supply chain, Ferrero is a member of collective initiatives including the  International Cocoa Initiative, and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, (with the latter being jointly supported by the World Cocoa Foundation (its cocoa activities pictured in main image).

The company has also joined a campaign calling on the EU to strengthen human rights and environmental due diligence requirements of companies in global cocoa supply chains.

 

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