That's what Forever Chocolate is all about...
Forever Chocolate is based on four ambitious targets, to be achieved by 2025, that address the largest sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain:
- More than 500,000 cocoa farmers will have been lifted out of poverty
- Eradicate child labor from our supply chain
- Become carbon and forest positive
- Have 100% sustainable ingredients in all of our products
These targets are daunting and we might not have all the answers on how to achieve them. But we are confident that we will reach them, working together with all those who have chocolate close to their hearts.
Forever Chocolate is about much more than doing the right thing. It is about securing the future of chocolate.
Understanding the root causes
Chocolate is a delicious product that brings joy to chocolate lovers. It also creates employment and value for many people and countries across the globe. There are, however, structural issues in the chocolate value chain:
- Low productivity on cocoa farms as a result of poor agricultural practices, nutrient depleted soil, and aging cocoa trees is 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.
As a result, the future generation of cocoa farmers, deprived of their childhood and education, will not be empowered to break this vicious cycle.
And sustainable chocolate 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.
In order to secure the future of chocolate, all the actors in the chocolate value chain need to unite behind a common ambition and step up their efforts to address these structural issues.
Building upon existing initiatives
Barry Callebaut has a long-standing commitment to improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers. Through our interactions with farmer cooperatives in origin countries, as well as through our direct sourcing and farm services, we have invested and engaged in productivity and community development for the past decade. The premiums from the sale of our sustainable HORIZONS cocoa and chocolate products flow 100% to the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, funding initiatives to improve smallholder cocoa farmer livelihoods through a mission-driven, non-profit organization.
We are also working in partnership with our customers, sustainability initiatives like the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and global development institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to further address sustainability issues in our value chain.
We are participating in national and international policy forums on the topic of cocoa sustainability. On an industry level, Barry Callebaut was one of the driving forces behind the World Cocoa Foundation establishing CocoaAction to align initiatives of global chocolate producers to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers. Through partnerships between governments, cocoa farmers and the cocoa and chocolate industry, CocoaAction focuses on boosting productivity and strengthening community development in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the largest cocoa- producing countries in the world. We align our efforts with CocoaAction but recognize the need to go above and beyond considering the urgency of the challenges in our supply chain.
Building on the foundations of these initiatives, Barry Callebaut launched Forever Chocolate; an overarching, holistic, strategy to scale up our own, and industry’s, efforts.
By setting four ambitious, time-bound targets on prospering farmers, eradicating child labor, thriving nature and sustainable chocolate we want to move beyond sustainable cocoa. By annually reporting our progress against these targets in a transparent and measurable way, we hope to unleash the sense of urgency required to find the creative solutions this cause deserves.
Starting a movement
Together with our industry partners in CocoaAction we must start a movement that also includes governments, NGOs and consumers in order to reach our targets. After all, 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.
Our approach to materiality
There are many players along the cocoa value chain. To be successful, we must engage these and other stakeholders so as to identify the key sustainability issues facing our business. Regular dialogue with stakeholders ranging from farmer cooperatives to customers and from investors to governments helps to inform our approach to these issues. We are in regular dialogue with customers, investors, media, governments, industry associations, multi-stakeholder initiatives and NGOs and take into consideration their views, expectations or concerns on sustainability matters. Issues which are deemed relevant to our stakeholders and our business are plotted in a materiality matrix (below). How we manage these issues depends on their relevance to both stakeholders and Barry Callebaut. Our level of engagement depends on how material the issue is to us and our stakeholders. We manage and report on all other issues identified as material, while we monitor those of lower relevance.