Accra, Ghana — During its first year, Barry Callebaut AG’s Forever Chocolate sustainability platform reached some 157,000 cocoa growers and improved their productivity 23 percent per hectare, the supplier revealed to an international group of journalists in Ghana.
While progress has been made, the company concedes that much work remains to be done in order to achieve the Forever Chocolate’s four-prong approach, including lifting more than 500,000 farmers out of poverty, eradicating the worst forms of child labor from its supply chain, becoming carbon and forest positive and sourcing only sustainable ingredients for all of its products. Barry Callebaut aims to accomplish these goals by 2025.
“The biggest risk in cocoa sustainability is not doing anything at all,” Barry Callebaut CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique tells CST. “We’d much rather be working toward a goal and fall short then be sitting on our hands.”
In the past fiscal year, the chocolate supplier mapped some 90,000 farmers and invested $7.6 million in Cocoa Horizons premiums in its supply chain. The premiums, which are paid for sustainable cocoa, are made up of direct support for growers through farm inputs including seedlings and fertilizer as well as direct cash payments to growers. Additionally, 175.5 hectares of cocoa were replanted during the period.
Further, the company partnered with other organizations to bring education to 65,000 children in growing communities and distributed more than 2,800 school kits. To date, 3.2 percent of the farmer groups Barry Callebaut sources from have systems in place to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor. During the 2016/17 fiscal year, 247 cases of the worst forms of child labor were identified and remediated, according to the company.
Regarding deforestation and its carbon footprint, this past year the supplier signed the Cocoa and Forest Initiative Framework for Action and began mapping non-cocoa areas at risk for causing deforestation. In line with this, the company reports 13 of its production facilities use only renewable electricity.
As part of its goal to source only sustainable ingredients, Barry Callebaut joined Bonsucro, a cane sugar sustainability organization, and the Palm Oil Innovation Group, and setup VisionDairy to address sustainability in milk sourcing. To date, 36 percent of the company’s cocoa is grown sustainably, while 30 percent of its total ingredient sourcing comes from sustainable suppliers.