Ferrero Group achieved its goal of sourcing 100 percent sustainable cocoa at the end of 2020, but the company is continuing to scale its cocoa sustainability efforts under its Ferrero Farming Values Cocoa Programme.

The company says it is working to ensure full visibility and traceability of its cocoa across its supply chain. It has also renewed and extended its strategic partnership with Save the Children, committing significant investment to protect children in cocoa communities.

In 2011, Ferrero made a commitment to source 100 percent sustainable cocoa beans via independently managed standards by 2020 to help improve cocoa farmers’ living conditions and foster sustainable practices. In 2019, the company broadened the scope of this target to include the chocolate sourced from third parties. Ferrero has achieved this goal.

In practice, this means that Ferrero sources sustainable cocoa through leading certification bodies and other independently managed standards such as Rainforest Alliance (UTZ), Fairtrade and Cocoa Horizons. This ensures that the company can optimally benefit from their different strengths, enriching its overarching cocoa sustainability strategy, which continues to develop.

Ferrero’s cocoa sourcing strategy is based on a distinctive set of principles that enable the company to implement due diligence throughout its supply chain and apply targeted solutions.

Ferrero is able to reach high traceability from farms to consumers. This is due to its distinctive approach of sourcing the far majority of its cocoa as raw beans, which are processed in Ferrero’s own plants. The beans are sourced as physically traceable – also known as “segregated”– from dedicated farmer groups. This means that the company knows which farms the cocoa comes from, which helps to identify issues and drive positive change on the ground together with cooperatives and farmers. 

In the 19/20 crop season, Ferrero traced more than 95 percent of its total cocoa beans back to the farms, and it is strongly advancing on the traceability of the chocolate sourced from third parties. Also, the company is making progress on mapping the farmers in its supply chain as part of its commitment to prevent deforestation.

Ferrero is also covering farmer groups with a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) or equivalent systems. Another major focus of Ferrero’s program is to empower women and reduce gender inequality. Ferrero has so far supported around 14,000 cocoa community members being mainly women in getting access to small loans for entrepreneurial activities. 

These initiatives are part of Ferrero’s wider commitment to deliver on its sustainability strategy – to improve farmers’ livelihoods, protect children’s rights and safeguard the environment.

Ferrero and Save the Children expand partnership

Ferrero is seeking to go further with its Ferrero Farming Values Cocoa programme, particularly in protecting children’s rights. 

Ferrero has renewed and extended its strategic partnership with Save the Children, building on the three-year program launched in 20 communities across Côte D’Ivoire. 

The co-funded €8 million ($9.52 million) project is anticipated to last for five years. It is expected to directly benefit 37,000 children and adults, and a total of 90,000 through mass awareness and outreach activities. This is a major action pledge as part of the UN’s International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. 

The renewed partnership will see scaled up activities in 65 communities in the Ivorian Haut-Sassandra region, where Ferrero sources a significant amount of cocoa. The holistic program will strengthen child protection systems, increase access to quality education and nutrition, support community development and empower women and adolescents. 

Ferrero and Save the Children will closely coordinate with national and local authorities and other industry initiatives to create synergies where possible and maximize impact.

A new dimension in the partnership will be for Save the Children to provide strategic guidance and technical support to Ferrero and its suppliers to ensure a harmonized approach on child protection across Ferrero’s supply chain in Ivory Coast and Ghana. 

“We continue to address the crucial human rights issues around our supply chains and to strengthen our due diligence,” said Marco Gonçalves, chief procurement & hazelnut company officer. “However, child labor in cocoa growing communities remains a significant issue, and we’re determined to go further to meet the challenge. That is why I am so pleased that we are extending our partnership with Save the Children with a particular focus on prevention to grow our impact on this issue. That way we can help drive meaningful long-term change, not only in our direct supply chain but also beyond.”

Besides working to protect children and communities in its own supply chain, Ferrero is a member of collective initiatives such as the International Cocoa Initiative, and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. Ferrero has also recently joined a campaign calling on the European Union to strengthen human rights and environmental due diligence requirements of companies in global cocoa supply chains.