Luker Chocolate reveals latest sustainability report, as it targets carbon neutrality
Luker Chocolate has unveiled its latest sustainability report highlighting its work on moving towards carbon neutrality by 2030, as well as supporting communities across its national supply chains through smallholder farms across Colombia, reports Neill Barston.
As its latest study, which covers 2020/20201 reveals, a total of 94% of its home country presently produces some degree of cacao crops, with 69,000 tonnes being produced last year by a total of 52,000 farming families within the country
As the company noted, in its 110-year history, placing a strong degree on supporting communities has been central to its identity, with the company explaining that it guarantees human rights through its employment policies. This allows it to prioritise actions of non-discrimination, free expression and awareness, the guarantee of labour and environmental rights, protections against the exploitation of children, as well as anti-fraud and anti-corruption mechanisms throughout its chocolate chain.
Significantly, as of 2021, the company reported that it successfully achieved the necessary score to become a B corporation business and thus begin the other stages of the certification process to mobilise the triple impact on the entire chocolate value chain. It said that this is achieved through five pillar – bring wellbeing to its teams, help strengthen communities, have a closer relationship with clients, and protect the environment, while maintaining proper business governance.
In terms of its direct goals over the next five years, the report highlighted its drive to increase a total of 1,500 farmers income by 20% (it attained that for 490 last year), as well as moving towards a traceability system that guarantees statements on sustainable sourcing, deforestation, and its no child labour policies. Presently, the company noted that 100% of its cocoa can be traced to an association or regional buyer. On 3.4% is presently traceable directly to an individual farmer, with the business presently able to track 1,397 specific farming operations.
To that end, it is now working with a total of 2,300 farms for its overarching Chocolate Dream programme, providing a high degree of support and guidance for cocoa growing families across Colombia.
While its latest report highlighted some notable progress in terms of improving its sustainability, it acknowledged there were wider challenges facing the country, including demographic tests, such as the fact that since 2005, two million people have moved from traditional rural agricultural areas, towards city living, which impacts on the pool of available labour within the sector.
Earlier this year, Luker Chocolate played a notable role at our World Confectionery Conference in Brussels, with the business highlighting its core efforts to improve its environmental responsibilities and continued engagement with its farming cocoa supply chain (European sales manager Paul Morris (right of pic, with Neill Barston (centre), and Jon Walker of Fairtrade International.
Other major challenges include the fact that for the past 50 years, the country has been faced with conflict within its borders relating to illicit crops – according to UN figures from its monitoring systems in 2020, the country had 154,000 hectares of cocoa growing within its borders, yet the majority of these – 61% were found to be located outside designated agricultural areas, and some within official national parks. It is this latter factor that remains a particular threat, with sensitive forest areas being prone to environmental damage from agroforestry methods unsuitable for cocoa production.
Camilo Romero, CEO Luker Chocolate, writing in the sustainability report, believed there was strong momentum for the business in its continued environmental responsibilities. He said: “To be a truly sustainable organisation that generates well-being, it is essential to place collaboration at the centre of all our efforts, which is what I have tried to promote as a leader. Invite, as equals, cocoa farmers, associations, suppliers, allies, and clients, to build a collective vision around chocolate. We take into account the needs, expectations, and dreams of each one, and work together to make them a reality.”