We do not only sell for a profit, but we also sell for a purpose
Good morning everyone. I’m delighted to be this morning with you in Bogota. I think that One Young World is an extraordinary forum and one which has the power to change the world for the better.
Kate asked me to tell you a few words on why I believe companies can and must have a key role in alleviating poverty, and share some of what my company is doing. Before I do so, let me share a simple belief: business cannot prosper if the society in which it lives does not prosper. The fate of one is linked to the other. But as importantly I am convinced that companies can and should contribute to poverty alleviation in a way that has nothing to do with charity, but in a way that makes good business sense. And when things make good business sense, they tend to happen faster and be sustainable over time.
Now, how does this apply to today’s world, how does it apply to my company, and what do we do about it?
I run one of the coolest companies in the world with one of the best business models in the world. First, my company sells a great product: chocolate. And we sell lots of it: About one out of 4 chocolate and cocoa products consumed in the world contains Barry Callebaut.
But that’s not all: We do not only sell for a profit, but we sell for a purpose. 50% of the dividends we pay to our shareholders go to education and a large chunk of it goes to education in Africa. So the model is very simple: the more we sell, the more we give back.
‘Forever Chocolate’ - our four bold targets to reach by 2025
We set it as a goal to address four issues by 2025, which one way or the other relate to poverty alleviation in the ecosystem of our company:
It starts with farmer income: We want committed to bringing half million farmers out of poverty. If you fail to do that, none of the rest will follow.
Tackling farmer poverty is essential to eradicate the worst forms of child labor. One is clearly the consequence of the other.
And the same goes for deforestation: to avoid that the smallholder farmers go further in the forest in search of new land, they need to increase productivity on their existing land and therefore their revenues.
And what applies to cocoa applies to many other chocolate ingredients hence our goal to source all ingredients sustainably.
Get your hands dirty and play your part
And this brings me to my last point: What role can you play? What role should you play? How do you step in and unleash the incredible power of the voice of the youth?
My call to you is to come on the pitch, get your hands dirty and play your part. Join companies that are a force for good and help them to get better. There are many of them out there. They need you, and you need them to have a greater impact. Challenge them but also contribute, make your own mark.