Barry Callebaut joins forces with Nestlé and Proforest for coconut sustainability scorecard system

Barry Callebaut has continued its joint venture with Nestlé and non-profit agricultural organisation Proforest to create a sustainability scorecard targeting improvement in environmental standards for coconut production, reports Neill Barston.

As the Swiss-headquartered business explains, the move builds on an initial venture last September to establish a charter for the key ingredient that aimed to enhance processing standards, as part of its Forever Chocolate commitments to enhancing standards surrounding ingredients sourcing across its supply chains.

Coconut remains a core item for many of Barry Callebaut’s chocolate lines, which has driven the urgency of its latest initiative, which it anticipates will help drive change in the wider sector through delivering a sustainability framework.

According to the company, the premium ingredient has seen notable growth, yet this has come as ‘significant and untackled sourcing issues remain, include aging trees, natural disasters, complex value chains and producers lacking in market, finance and technical know-how.  Consequently, it acknowledge the results of these combined factors have resulted in resulted low quality produce, low income for producers and little incentive to improve practices across the board, despite a growing market.

In response to the situation, it believed the work that it began last year with Nestlé and Proforest will have a positive impact on the industry, including its report in the form of a sustainable origins assessment. This will enable the company to evaluate risks relating to specific locations, as well as carry out traceability and mapping of its supply chains, which it will roll out from 2022. Furthermore, the business has invited other organisations to join the charter, which has so far seen a total of 40 NGOs and other stakeholders sign up in support of the initiative. The top five coconut growing regions in the world include Indonesia, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil.

The voluntary venture, which is thought to be a first of its kind, was achieved in collaboration with USAID Green Invest Asia and industry, so far includes support from AAK, FrieslandCampina, Harmless Harvest, Nestlé and Unilever.

Madeleine Eilert, Sustainable Sourcing Lead for Coconut at Nestlé, said: “We are dedicated to achieving transparency and traceability in our supply chains, including in sourcing coconut as a raw material for our products. The supplier scorecard and origins assessment we are developing together with Barry Callebaut will enable us to fully understand current and future challenges in sourcing this raw material and to address gaps in sustainable coconut production. This set of tools will also be beneficial in creating an alignment among companies and defining a common framework to drive changes in the industry.”

Oliver von Hagen, Director of Sustainability Global Ingredients at Barry Callebaut Group also welcomed the work of the charter. He said: “The Sustainable Coconut Charter is a first of its kind voluntary framework for companies in the coconut industry. It represents a collective commitment and a harmonised approach to making a difference to the planet, people and business.”


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