Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, published its new sustainability strategy “Forever Chocolate,” with the ambition to move sustainable chocolate from niche to norm in less than a decade. Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut, says “We have been pioneering sustainability in cocoa and chocolate for many years, and we have made great progress. But despite all our efforts, only 23% of the cocoa beans we source are from sustainability programs. We are determined to step change this and have 100% of our chocolate and its ingredient sustainably sourced by 2025.”
Four concrete and relevant targets by 2025
In order to secure the future of chocolate, Barry Callebaut’s new sustainability strategy includes four targets that the company expects to achieve by 2025 and that address the biggest sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain:
- Eradicate child labor from its supply chain;
- Lift more than 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty
- Become carbon and forest positive
- Have 100% sustainable ingredients in all its products
CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique says: “The targets we have set ourselves after a thorough materiality analysis are bold, and we recognize that we do not have all the answers. What we know for sure is that we cannot reach these targets by ourselves. That is why we intend to start a movement that also includes governments, NGOs, consumers and our customers. Sustainable chocolate is as much about governments creating an enabling policy environment and enforcing legislation, NGOs creating awareness and consumers making sustainable choices, as it is about industry commitment and investment. ‘Forever Chocolate’ is an open invitation to work with us in finding structural solutions to the sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain. Without sustainability, there cannot be growth. By taking on the challenges we face as an industry, we will make ‘Forever Chocolate’ a reality.”
Building upon existing initiatives
Barry Callebaut has had a long-standing commitment to improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers and made “Sustainable Cocoa” one of the 4 pillars of its corporate strategy a long time ago. Through its sustainability programs with farmer cooperatives in origin countries, as well as through its direct sourcing and farm services organization, Biolands, the company has invested in productivity and community development for the past decade. In addition, Barry Callebaut was a founding member of the World Cocoa Foundation as well as the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and one of the driving forces behind CocoaAction, the World Cocoa Foundation’s voluntary strategy to align the initiatives of global cocoa and chocolate producers to improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers. “Forever Chocolate” is aligned with existing efforts, but recognizes the need to go above and beyond considering the urgency of the challenges in the chocolate supply chain.
Addressing the root causes
Despite industry’s efforts, there are a number of structural issues in the chocolate supply chain. Low productivity on cocoa farms as a result of poor agricultural practices, nutrient depleted soil, and aging cocoa trees are keeping many farmers in a state of poverty. Poverty prevents cocoa farmers from investing in their farms and new practices to increase productivity that would boost their incomes. In addition, poverty keeps farmers from hiring professional workers, forcing them to rely on their family members, including their children, to work the fields.
Sustainable chocolate also requires more than sustainable cocoa. It requires achieving zero net deforestation and curbing carbon emissions for the production of any chocolate ingredient or chocolate product.
Each year, Barry Callebaut will publish a report on the progress it is making towards the four targets it has defined.