Ferrero drives to continue work on tackling deforestation in cocoa supply chains
Ferrero has furthered its work on sustainability in releasing its second annual report on activities implemented during 2019/20 under the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) environmental measures in Ghana and Ivory Coast, reports Neill Barston.
As the company noted, the venture, which is a partnership between the two West African governments and leading cocoa and chocolate companies, has continued to make progress against its goals.
However, as recently reported by Confectionery Production, concerns remain over the sheer scale of the issue at hand – with Ivory Coast having lost 25% of its primary forest between 2002-2019, and Ghana losing 8%.
According to Ferrero, despite the disruption created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has already met or exceeded over 50% of its 2022 targets with two more years to go.
Its latest work on cocoa sustainability follows similar pledges by the company on its approach to palm oil sourcing, which remains a key ingredient for a number of its confectionery ranges. The company said that it is fully committed to securing deforestation and exploitation free sourcing policies through working with NGO’s and farming cooperatives and suppliers.
As for its cocoa sustainability, the business added that it will continue beyond a number of these targets in critical areas, such as polygon mapping farms to ensure a high level of traceability, covering more hectares with deforestation risk assessment, developing agroforestry and support in establishing Village Savings and Loans Associations.
“Through the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, we are working to ensure that forests are protected and preserved. We have also implemented extensive activities to support farmers and communities economically and socially,” said Marco Gonçalves, Chief Procurement & Hazelnut Company Officer at Ferrero. “A critical component to enable us to do this is having full visibility of our supply chain. This is why we are proud of our strong progress on tracing our cocoa and mapping the farms we source from, ensuring that our cocoa does not come from protected areas.”
Ferrero recently announced that its cocoa is 100% sustainably sourced via independently managed standards such as Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and others. In addition, the company is pleased that −according to the 2019/20 CFI definition− it has achieved 91% traceability from farm to first purchase point for its directly sourced cocoa . Ferrero has also made public the farmer groups from which it sources cocoa, as part of its commitment to transparency.
Ferrero’s second progress report marks the halfway point for its four-year CFI action plan, which was launched in 2019. Ferrero is proud to have built on the progress it has made over previous years and has surpassed many of its goals, particularly on the following CFI indicators:
• Mapped over 123,000 farms in both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, far exceeding the 2022 target of 100,872
• Distributed 900,000 improved cocoa plant seedlings
• Trained over 100,000 farmers in Good Agricultural Practices, more than 30,000 ahead of the 2022 target
• Carried out deforestation risk assessments covering a total of 233,332 hectares, and already exceeded the 2022 target by 93,686 hectares
• 48,306 hectares of cocoa agroforestry now in development, ahead of the 2022 target
• 525 active Village Savings and Loans Associations. Group membership has already reached over 13,000, more than three times the 2022 target
Ferrero is also significantly accelerating work on indicators where there is more to do to achieve the 2022 targets, particularly the distribution of trees for on-farm planting and for off-farm reforestation activities.
Marco Gonçalves, concluded: “Extensive progress is being made, and it’s positive that there is a clear sense of urgency amongst CFI signatory companies to increase collective action and to see greater engagement and alignment between industry and origin governments. However, it’s essential to ensure that all stakeholders deliver on commitments made in order to continue the positive trend that has seen declines in deforestation in cocoa growing areas. This will be critical for the success of CFI over the coming years.”