Barry Callebaut's mission is to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. As part of its Forever Chocolate plan it has a commitment on all ingredients that goes into its chocolate. This means taking into account the sustainability of every aspect of its supply chain, including coconuts. Coconut is a key ingredient in many of its products, which is why Barry Callebaut decided to develop a coconut sustainability framework to drive change in this industry.

The sustainability challenges in coconut production

In recent years, there has been rapid growth of the global coconut market, paired with significant and yet untackled sustainability challenges. These include aging trees, natural disasters, complex value chains, and producers lacking in market, finance, and technical know-how. The result has been low quality produce, low income for producers, and little incentive to improve practices across the board, despite a growing market.

A scorecard for success

Building on the company's work to improve traceability within its coconut supply chain, Barry Callebaut joined forces with Nestlé and Proforest in 2020 to launch the Sustainable Coconut Supplier Scorecard and Sustainable Origins Assessment.

The Sustainable Coconut Supplier Scorecard and Sustainable Origins Assessment will allow Barry Callebaut to assess sustainability risks at the sourcing locations/origin countries of its coconut supply chain, set clear improvement targets, and track performance over time. It will also help the company enhance traceability by mapping out supply chain actors, and introduce a tangible incentive for suppliers and coconut origins to make improvements. By 2022, Barry Callebaut intends to roll out this assessment with all of its coconut oil suppliers, in addition to its annual traceability assessment.

More broadly, the company is inviting organizations active in the coconut industry to join it in signing the Sustainable Coconut Charter, thus transforming the ongoing development of sustainable practices in the coconut industry into a global movement.

The Sustainable Coconut Charter—a promising start

To address sustainability challenges in coconut production, Barry Callebaut collaborated with USAID Green Invest Asia and industry and in November 2020 launched the Sustainable Coconut Charter, co-signed by industry leaders AAK, FrieslandCampina, Harmless Harvest, Nestlé, and Unilever.

Since the launch of the Sustainable Coconut Charter, Barry Callebaut has witnessed great momentum with over 40 companies, NGOs, and other stakeholders expressing interest to align their approach toward sustainable coconut production.