ofi (olam food ingredients) says it has advanced toward the climate goals stated in its Cocoa Compass sustainability report 2020/21 — the year of COP26.

In order to achieve the structural change required to have an impact at scale, the report makes clear that work on the ground in cocoa communities should be supported by international collaboration and regulation. 

In the report, ofi shares its sustainability progress across its cocoa supply chain, achieved in collaboration with customers and partners, and benchmarked against three years of impact data. From the Brazilian Amazon to the landscapes of Côte d’Ivoire, the company has taken further steps to protect and restore forests: it distributed 1.75 million trees to farmers (a 356 percent increase since 2017/18) and enhanced the accuracy of its deforestation monitoring, having polygon mapped two-thirds of its sustainability programs.

ofi also invested to reduce its CO2 emissions per metric ton of product output from its cocoa processing facilities, down by 19 percent since 2018, by installing circular biomass boilers fueled by waste cocoa shells and switching to green electricity. The boiler at the Koog aan de Zaan facility in the Netherlands, where it produces its premium cocoa ingredient brand, deZaan, will allow ofi to target a further 50 percent cut in natural gas usage, which will lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. 

“We need to keep the 1.5 degrees climate ambition alive," said Gerard A. Manley, CEO of ofi’s cocoa platform and chief sustainability officer of ofi. "That means driving climate action at every stage of our supply chain, from plant to palate, supporting customers on their own decarbonization journeys, and reassuring consumers that their favorite chocolate bar, baked good or ice cream is having a positive impact on the cocoa communities and landscapes it came from.”

The report includes action to eliminate child labor and raise farmer incomes. Child labor monitoring is in place across all managed sustainability programs, while the company’s digital CLMRS app, a part of the Olam Farmers Information System (OFIS) — already used across Central & West Africa, Brazil and Indonesia — was extended to Papua New Guinea. ofi is also establishing an estimate of cocoa farmer incomes across sourcing countries to better understand and close living income gaps.

“The progress we’ve made so far is thanks to the joint efforts of customers, sustainability partners and national and local authorities," Manley said. "These issues are bigger than any one organization; we need collaboration and regulation to help achieve structural change, including the right legislation in cocoa-consuming and producing countries. Working together, the international community can drive change at scale.”

All cocoa data collected by ofi can feed directly into AtSource, its sustainability insights platform, giving customers full visibility of their cocoa’s environmental and social impact, including traceability for all of ofi’s directly sourced cocoa.

“Since 2018, we have been working with ofi and other partners to restore areas of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest," said Felipe Faria, LATAM regional manager at partnerships for Forests (P4F), a program funded by the UK government via the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. "By successfully creating a one-stop shop for cocoa farmers to access technical assistance, financial credit, and a market to sell their cocoa, we have already brought over 17,000 hectares of land under sustainable management. ofi has played a leading role at every step, particularly around testing new ideas and solutions to accelerate the project’s progress.”