Cocoa sourcing and processing in Africa during times of COVID-19
Jo, can you describe what business continuity looks like in Africa during COVID-19? What were your first priorities?
Our first consideration was the safety of our people, and we had to address this in a rapidly changing situation. Our care also extended beyond our own employees, to outsourced services, such as our security teams and workers from trucking companies who deliver for us.
Alternative working arrangements, such as home office, meant ensuring that all those who had to suddenly work from home, could do so. To address this we needed to procure adequate resources such as laptops, smartphones and data bundles for our people to enable a smooth transition from the workplace to home office.
Has there been any silver linings during COVID-19?
What I felt during this period was the entire Region Africa team coming closer together. Our people are really passionate about supporting the operations during COVID-19, of adapting to how they work, adjusting to different shift patterns or staying in alternative accommodation close to our sites.
The creativity and ingenuity of our people has also shone at this time. The additional washing facilities at our sites, these were hand made. I also saw how the communications evolved during this time. As the situation unfolded, communication was critical to informing our people and for maintaining business continuity. Our issue teams who met every day, discovered that actually the best way to communicate was not via email or notice boards in our sites, but by creating team Google Hangout groups or via text messaging to keep everyone up to date on a timely basis.
We also had a visit from one of the medical officers who is a member of the advisory team working with the Ghanaian government on COVID-19 situation. She reviewed the interventions that we had put in place to support our people and the feedback that we received was that they were so impressed with what we had done - that we could transport our people, provide accommodation to our people, to keep them safe. This is something we can be very proud of.
Charity Sackiety, Managing Director Ghana, presenting food donations to support 500 families in the Tema areahttps://www.barry-callebaut.com/sites/default/files/styles/paragraph_image_gallery_full/public/2020-05/food%20donations%20to%20support%20families%20in%20africa.jpg?itok=JB6ciBOd
Distribution of hygiene kits, Nigeriahttps://www.barry-callebaut.com/sites/default/files/styles/paragraph_image_gallery_full/public/2020-05/Distribution%20of%20hygiene%20kits%2C%20Nigeria%20Distribution%20of%20precautionary%20kits%20%28hydro-alcholic%20gel%2C%20soap%2C%20face%20mask%29%20to%20BC%20people%29.jpg?itok=LaFfWc2b
Joining forces with Unilever to distribute 10’000 pieces of soap to cocoa farmer communities in Côte d'Ivoirehttps://www.barry-callebaut.com/sites/default/files/styles/paragraph_image_gallery_full/public/2020-05/Joining%20forces%20with%20Unilever%20to%20distribute%2010%E2%80%99000%20pieces%20of%20soap%20to%20cocoa%20farmer%20cooperatives%20in%20Co%CC%82te%20d%27Ivoire.jpg?itok=tTkUyI8U
Partnering with KIM'S Chocolates, to deliver hand washing stations to cocoa farming communities, Tanzania.https://www.barry-callebaut.com/sites/default/files/styles/paragraph_image_gallery_full/public/2020-05/items%20prepared%20ready%20for%20handover.jpg?itok=d_LH_K75
Distribution of hand hygiene packages, Cameroonhttps://www.barry-callebaut.com/sites/default/files/styles/paragraph_image_gallery_full/public/2020-05/Distribution%20hand%20hygiene%20packages%20Cameroon.jpg?itok=vgEvw43e