Forever Chocolate: Barry Callebaut “on track to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025”

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06 Dec 2018 --- Chocolate and cocoa manufacturer Barry Callebaut has published its Forever Chocolate Progress Report 2017/18, listing the progress made towards its target of making sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. According to the company, 44 percent of the cocoa and 44 percent of the other ingredients that the group uses for its products are sustainably sourced. And, although there may still be a significant way to go, Barry Callebaut reports it is on track to completely eliminating unsustainable and controversial practises that are often linked to the cocoa supply chain.

In the past, the cocoa industry has been widely criticized for its involvement in child labor and environmental degradation. Reports of under-age minors being made to work in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and other cocoa-producing countries date back two decades or more. According to the 2018 Cocoa Barometer, a report by 15 European non-profit organizations, as many as 2.1 million child laborers are working in West Africa alone.

Deforestation is one of the biggest causes of global warming and threatening the ecosystem that provides chocolate ingredients.

Just last month, a partnership involving Barry Callebaut, Dutch chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely and Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn was announced, as looking to raise the industry’s standards on cocoa sourcing, in favor of a more equally divided cocoa chain.

Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut, comments: “With now over 44 percent of our ingredients coming from sustainable sources we are well on track to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. Through our sourcing, processing and sales, we are driving change, supporting cocoa farming communities and driving the uptake of sustainably sourced chocolate.”

Forever Chocolate is based on four ambitious targets, to be achieved by 2025, that address the most considerable sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain.

1. Lift more than 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty.
2. Eradicate child labor from its supply chain.
3. Become carbon and forest positive.
4. Have 100 percent sustainable ingredients in all its products.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Peter Boone, President and CEO of the Americas for Barry Callebaut, says: “As the former Chief Innovation, Sustainability and Quality Officer of the company, I spearheaded the effort to launch Forever Chocolate, our sustainability program. I knew it would be a tremendous challenge, but Barry Callebaut has the people and infrastructure in place in countries of origin to have the ability to move the needle. Our results strongly demonstrate our hard work and commitment to this program.” 

“Forever Chocolate’s overall goal is to make sustainable chocolate the norm,” he continues. “We are nearly halfway to over overall goal in just the first two years, and that is incredibly exciting.”

“But Forever Chocolate is more about just sustainably-sourced cocoa – it’s also about protecting the lives of the farmers and the environment from which we source our beans, and we have made significant steps forward in protecting against deforestation, lifting farmers out of poverty and eradicating child labor in the first two years that are on track to hit our goals for 2025,” he says. Click to EnlargePeter Boone, President and CEO of the America's for Barry Callebaut

“In our second year, Barry Callebaut distributed 2.1 million young cocoa seedlings and close to 400,000 shade trees to help fight deforestation. Additionally, in 2017/18, 12 percent of the farmer groups Barry Callebaut sources from have systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor, which has helped us uncover 4,320 cases of the worst forms of child labor,” Boon continues. “Lastly, we have lifted 169,460 farmers out of poverty, which makes us over 1/3 of the way of reaching our goal of lifting 500,000 farmers out of poverty by 2025.” 

“By 2025, cocoa farming will look significantly different for Barry Callebaut,” confirms Boone. “New standards, programs and technologies are being set into place to facilitate that change beyond 2025 and into forever.” 

Boone further highlights its interest in programs, committees, industry partners and institutions that will help the company reach its bold goals. 

“We cannot do this alone,” he claims. “We need partners and welcome others to join us in making sustainability the norm. Working together is the key to success.” 

Sustainable chocolate
Of all the agricultural raw materials Barry Callebaut sources, 44 percent were sustainably sourced in 2017/18. The group sourced 44 percent (2016/17: 36 percent) of cocoa beans through sustainability programs, according to the new report.

This percentage includes the group’s Cocoa Horizons program, as well as its customers’ own programs and external certification such as UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and Organic. Furthermore, Barry Callebaut sourced 44 percent (2016/17: 30 percent) of its non-cocoa agricultural raw materials sustainably. This includes the use of sustainability certification schemes for the respective ingredients, says the company.

Lift more than 500,000 cocoa farmers out of povertyClick to Enlarge
In order to lift more than 500,000 farmers out of poverty, Barry Callebaut is building datasets with the detailed location, agronomic, economic and social survey data on the cocoa farms in its supply chain. More than 130,000 farms have already been mapped. These unique datasets allow Barry Callebaut to ensure that the mapped cocoa farms are not located in protected forest areas, says the company. In addition, they enable the group to create tailor-made sustainability programs to help address the critical issues of the mapped cocoa farming communities.

In 2017/18, 12,395 farmers (+113 percent) in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania, Brazil and Indonesia participated in Barry Callebaut’s Farm Services business and received coaching and other inputs such as tools and seedlings or support to access finance. Furthermore, Barry Callebaut supported cocoa farmers in replanting 281 hectares (+60 percent) with young cocoa trees, as well as other crops that provide shade and help cocoa farmers to diversify their income. 

Eradicating child labor
With the support of ICI, the company continues to implement monitoring and remediation systems designed to eliminate child labor. In 2017/18, Barry Callebaut conducted monitoring and remediation in 21 farmer groups covering 12,018 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The company established that in 2017/18 12 percent (2016/17: 3.2 percent) of the farmer groups it directly sources from in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor. All the cases of worst forms of child labor the group found are being remediated, reports the company. 

Carbon and forest positive
In order to become carbon positive, Barry Callebaut is seeking to take into account the carbon footprint of the entire supply chain, including the production and processing of all raw materials and related land use changes. The carbon footprint of the company’s supply chain from farm to customer was 9.1 million tons CO2e in 2017/18. This is an increase of 4.6 percent due mostly to the rise in the production of chocolate and cocoa, says the company. 

The CO2e intensity per ton of average product slightly decreased to 4.45 tons (-1.5 percent) in 2017/18, due to energy saving measures in Barry Callebaut’s factories and transport operations. Of the group’s factories, 14 out of 59 (24 percent) are now running on 100 percent renewable energy. 

Barry Callebaut has also created a heat map to provide an overview of the geographical footprint of the raw materials the group sources which are at risk of causing deforestation. On the basis of this heat map, it is assessing which additional safeguard measures have to be put in place to prove that these commodities are free from deforestation, reports the company. 

By Elizabeth Green

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