Barry Callebaut reinvigorates ESG targets to inspire long-term systemic change in chocolate
11 May 2023 --- Barry Callebaut has sharpened existing cocoa sustainability targets in a bid to make “sustainable chocolate the norm,” according to the leading chocolate business. It plans to be forest-positive by 2025, use 100% transparent and traceable ingredients by 2030 and be net zero by the middle of the century.
The company’s new “Forever Chocolate” goals come weeks after the European Parliament’s decision to adopt a new law to fight global deforestation, requiring companies to ensure products sold in the EU have not led to deforestation or forest degradation.
“Our Forever Chocolate targets are dynamic by design. The requirements of a sustainable cocoa and chocolate supply chain are constantly evolving and transforming. Plus, since the start of Forever Chocolate, we continuously generated new insights through data analysis and engagement with experts,” says Steven Retzlaff, president of global cocoa at Barry Callebaut.
“We, therefore, wanted to add fresh ambition to our Forever Chocolate plan with more focus on the impact on the ground beyond compliance, on supporting and empowering beyond training and on a systemic approach beyond individual intervention. This is why we have created new targets and sharpened our existing ones, extending our impact beyond 2025.”
The Forever Chocolate plan addresses the material challenges in the cocoa and chocolate supply chain.
The first part of the plan – prospering farmers – was launched in 2016 with the goal of lifting 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty by 2025. Barry Callebaut remains on track to meet this target and will shift its focus from training to providing input support, according to the business.
This new focus will include financial support for third-party labor services and additional premiums. Improving yield per hectare remains key to lifting smallholder cocoa farmers out of poverty and putting them on a trajectory toward a living income.
By 2030, the company aims to have mobilized public and private stakeholders to collectively support and implement a transformative cocoa farming model generating living income.
In March, Barry Callebaut and Nestlé unveiled plans to protect biodiversity and support the livelihoods of over 6,000 cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. This month, it announced a six-year collaboration with Agri-Logic, IDH and Rainforest Alliance, outlining actionable steps that underpin a transformative approach to improve existing cacao farming.
In related news, chocolate behemoth Mars started two “farmer-first” programs in 2022 to support the sustainable living income of 14,000 smallholder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia.
Eradicating child labor
Eighty one percent of farmer groups Barry Callebaut directly sources from have systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor, according to the company. By 2025, it indicates that its entire supply chain will be covered by Human Rights Due Diligence, remediating all child labor cases identified.
“By 2030, all farming communities Barry Callebaut sources from will be empowered to protect human rights,” the company notes.
“This [goal] will require both private and public intervention to build the enabling infrastructure, foremost the establishment of Child Protection Committees at cocoa farmer community level and ensuring access to quality education.”
By 2030, Barry Callebaut will have 100% certified or verified cocoa and ingredients in all of its products, traceable to the farm level. Establishing industry-wide sustainability standards and programs is essential for the sustainable sourcing of raw materials, as certification is only the starting point.
The company is leveraging polygon mapping and geo-location based on satellite images to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain.
Also by 2030, it “will have decarbonized its footprint in line with global efforts to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees.”
“It is clear that we cannot reach these targets on our own. For Forever Chocolate to become a reality, we need public intervention to drive structural change beyond our direct supply chain,” Retzlaff concludes.
Edited by Marc Cervera
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