Cocoa Sustainability Guide: Choosing a Program

From Fairtrade to Organic, and everything in between. Which cocoa program is right for your business? Discover the key aspects to consider

There are a number of different cocoa programs and labels available, including Rainforest Alliance (now merged with UTZ), Fairtrade International, organic certifications and other local certifications. In your local store, you also will notice cocoa sustainability logos of chocolate companies who have in-house schemes, or some other claims that might be used to represent multiple programs.

Cocoa Horizons is another option available to Barry Callebaut customers worldwide. It is an independent Foundation focusing on creating impact with farmers, their communities, and the environment. The funds are targeted towards activities aiming to lift farmers out of poverty, to eradicate child labor and to achieve a deforestation free supply-chain. The Foundation is fully transparent on how the funds are spent and what impact is achieved. 


Cocoa farming

Choosing a cocoa program is an important step towards sustainably-sourced cocoa, with different factors to consider:

  • Market requirements - Depending on your geographical region, your customers, you will need to comply with specific legislations and sustainable requisites especially to be able to make sustainability claims. 
  • Positive Impact createdEach sustainable program undertakes a range of activities in farming communities and offers different levels of data on those activities to partners supporting the program. Choose a program that can help you demonstrate the positive impact your support has created.
  • Brand fit - Each option addresses issues of cocoa sustainability, but they come at it with different approaches. For example, some have more focus on specific social issues such as fair income for farmers, whereas others have focus on environmental issues. Understanding your target consumer and what solutions you want to focus on is key.
  • Storytelling and Claims - Programs have different toolkits for companies to use to communicate cocoa sustainability to their consumers. Review these valuable tools to understand what makes most sense for your needs. 
  • Traceability level (mass balance, segregation) - A mass balance product means that sustainable cocoa is mixed with conventional one throughout the supply chain allowing more flexibility and cost optimization. The amount of sustainable cocoa sourced is verified to be equal to the amount of cocoa sold. In this case, your finished product does not contain sustainable cocoa as such. When you choose a segregated product, the sustainable cocoa is kept separate from conventional throughout the entire supply chain. This way, your product does contain sustainable cocoa. Costs and claims are different depending on whether you choose Mass Balance or Segregated.
  • Price impactThere are cost premiums associated with each of these programs, as well as additional supply chain efforts that need to be considered.

Barry Callebaut is able to offer a wide variety of cocoa programs and many of our premium product solutions already support cocoa sustainability through Cocoa Horizons. Get in touch for more information.

If you are a brand, retailer, or manufacturer requiring support with your sustainability journey, check out our Cocoa Sustainability Guide: Getting Started.

You can also download our Sustainability Resources.


Get in Touch