SVI: Driving Sustainability in the Vanilla Supply Chain

c4d77427-5895-4426-b6dd-3e04851f789earticleimage.jpg

02 Dec 2016 --- The Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI) aims to improve vanilla bean farmers’ livelihoods and assure the long-term stable supply of high quality natural vanilla. This voluntary food, flavors and fragrances industries program liaises with vanilla exporters, producers, sector organizations and public authorities worldwide to progress issues of governance, traceability, labor rights and technical assistance to grower groups. 

In recent years, the international vanilla bean market has faced challenges of falling quality, price volatility and insufficient product traceability. The Sustainable Vanilla Initiative hopes to bring innovative solutions to these market challenges through a comprehensive holistic strategy addressing social, environmental and economic issues inherent to vanilla’s complex supply chain in producing countries.  
 
While continuing to attract new member interest, the initiative currently has 20 members ranging from major consumer goods manufacturers and global flavors and fragrances companies to international vanilla bean traders and cooperatives selling vanilla extracts. Collectively, members represent over 70% of worldwide vanilla bean purchases and have initially focused their efforts on collaboration with Madagascar, which currently represents more than 80% of world supply.  
Participating companies share a commitment to pre-competitive projects to improve quality, product traceability, good market governance and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who form the foundation of the global vanilla bean trade. 
 
Jan Gilhuis, Senior Program Manager at IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative explains why the timing for the launch of the SVI was right. “The current crisis of high vanilla bean prices and low quality against a backdrop of general concerns about social issues like poverty and child labor have created a sense of urgency for all stakeholders, including national and international companies, Malagasy exporters and farmers, to come together to professionalize the sector. SVI participants want to build a more stable market by providing structural incentives for the production of high quality and sustainably produced vanilla beans while creating overall conditions supporting the increased use of these products.” 
 
Although only launched in 2015, the SVI has been very active. Last year, it contributed to the development of a Code of Conduct for Malagasy vanilla market participants which was signed by Madagascar’s Prime Minister and more than 40 vanilla exporters.  
 
In April 2016, the SVI organized a conference in Paris bringing together Malagasy government officials, representatives of Malagasy vanilla bean growers, collector and exporter groups as well as international companies to agree plans for market reform. This meeting was the first of its kind in more than 20 years.  The outcomes included  a joint declaration by participants to build a more vibrant market by providing structural incentives for consistently high quality product, sustainable market practices and improved vanilla grower livelihoods.  
 
More recently, the ILO in collaboration with SVI was awarded a grant of USD 4 million by the U.S. Department of Labor to further pursue work with its Malagasy partners in the areas of sector governance, traceability, safeguarding against child labor and technical assistance to grower groups. 
 
“Industry initiatives like the SVI require a lot of patience, commitment and hard work; this means they can bring big benefits”, says Don Seville, Co-Director of the Sustainable Food Lab. “I’ve been involved in a number of initiatives using private-public platforms that have really paid off for all stakeholders. I think SVI can do the same. We’re looking forward to collaborating with all vanilla supply chain stakeholders to drive sustainability in the vanilla supply chain.”  

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Damning cocoa report: Decade-long efforts to improve cocoa sector falling way short, claims NGO

20 Apr 2018 --- A damning report into the cocoa sector claims that widely touted efforts in the industry to improve the lives of farmers, communities and the environment made over the last decade are having little impact. Despite many of the big players in the cocoa and chocolate supply chain working on sustainability issues like trying to eradicate child labor and stopping environmental damage like deforestation, the efforts of companies and governments have very little influence, according to the Cocoa Barometer 2018.

Food Ingredients News

Imbibe launches line of clean label flavor masking ingredients

20 Apr 2018 --- Imbibe has launched a line of clean-label flavor masking ingredients for food and beverages, called NonSense. The development of NonSense comes hot on the heels of the success of the company's first proprietary ingredient, SweetSense.

Packaging & Technology News

Industry 4.0: Tetra Pak benefits from digital technology boost

20 Apr 2018 --- The food and beverage industry is embarking on its biggest transformation in decades, leveraging new technology to improve food quality, increase plant efficiency and boost productivity. Tetra Pak has undergone its own digital transformation over the past few years and is now working with other companies to help them navigate the complex systems and technology.

Food Ingredients News

Sugar beets: Tereos’ cooperative growers benefit from good results

20 Apr 2018 --- To help support its cooperative growers in the post-quota era, Tereos was the first group in Europe to guarantee growers a minimum price for their sugar beets and implement measures to bolster the cash flow of their farming businesses.

Business News

Weekly Digest: ADM receives recognition for diversity, AB InBev develops energy-efficient brewing method

20 Apr 2018 --- This week in business, ADM was named by USG Corporation (USG) as its Diversity & Inclusion Supplier of the Year for 2018. The Supervisory Board of GEA Group and the Chief Financial Officer of GEA Group mutually agreed that Helmut Schmale would step down from the Executive Board before the termination of his appointment, which is due to expire at the end of March 2021. Meanwhile, Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products, Ornua announced the appointment of John Jordan as Chief Executive Designate and Tate & Lyle appointed of Imran Nawaz to the position of Chief Financial Officer, and to the Board of Tate & Lyle, with effect from August 1, 2018. Mondelēz International has inaugurated its newest “Factory of the Future” in the Kingdom of Bahrain as it aims to meet the growing consumer demand and Bell & Evans will invest US$260 million in building a new poultry harvesting facility in Pennsylvania in its new expansion strategy in the US.

More Articles