Cocoa Sustainability

Cocoa is typically produced by smallholder farmers in remote equatorial areas. Most of the world’s cocoa volume comes from West Africa, the area that faces the industry’s most vital sustainability challenges. Cocoa sustainability is firmly embedded in our business strategy. We are expanding our activities on the ground and aligning with our industry peers in order to improve yields and livelihoods.


 To be the leader in innovation, implementation, and impact in cocoa sustainability globally.

Sustainable Cocoa is one of the four pillars of Barry Callebaut’s corporate strategy, alongside Expansion, Innovation, and Cost Leadership.

Our definition of cocoa sustainability

Barry Callebaut believes that cocoa farming is sustainable when farmers:

  • earn an equitable income;
  • engage in responsible labor practices;
  • safeguard the environment; and
  • can provide for the basic health and education needs and well-being of their families.


Understanding from which area and farmer we are sourcing, “traceability” is a key parameter in assessing the quality of yields and production methods. In addition, it also allows us to tackle sustainability challenges such as deforestation and child labor in the cocoa supply chain in a much more targeted manner. This year, we started to roll out a farm data management system, project Katchilè, across 65,000 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. This cloud-based data management system allows us to be in contact with farmers in near real-time, offering an unprecedented level of transparency in the sourcing of our cocoa beans. In the coming years we will be extending this tool across Ghana, Tanzania and Indonesia.

Barry Callebaut Farmer field school train cocoa farmers in good agricultural practices
One of Barry Callebaut's 989 Farmer Field School which train cocoa farmers in good agricultural practices

Sourcing cocoa sustainably

Working with cocoa farmer cooperatives: Barry Callebaut’s cocoa sustainability team includes trainers, ecologists, agronomists, geographers, controllers, and auditors. In Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, the team works with 92 cooperatives, representing 77,700 cocoa farmers, to implement cocoa sustainability programs. This allows farmers to produce beans that can be sold under a sustainability scheme, which brings them a financial premium.

In parallel, the Biolands Group is Barry Callebaut’s direct sourcing enterprise for sustainable cocoa. The Biolands Group works directly with 45,000 farmers and village coordinators to provide training, inputs such as fertilizers, support, and assistance in the production of certified cocoa.


Barry Callebaut's enterprise Biolands sources sustainable cocoa beans directly from cocoa farmers
Barry Callebaut's enterprise Biolands sources sustainable cocoa beans directly from cocoa farmers

Improving cocoa productivity and developing communities

In order to improve the productivity on cocoa farms, we have put in place a robust training infrastructure to disseminate good agricultural practices: one Cocoa Center of Excellence, 55 demonstration plots and 989 farmer field schools.

Barry Callebaut works to improve access to education, promote child protection, empower women, and address basic health needs such as access to water and sanitation.

Women empowerment is one of Barry Callebaut's activities to develop communities
Women empowerment is one of Barry Callebaut's activities to develop communities

Sustainable cocoa products

To respond to customer requests for sustainable cocoa products, Barry Callebaut offers cocoa products both from certified sources (mainly UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance) and from its own Cocoa Horizons Program.


Partnering for cocoa sustainability

Barry Callebaut is a member of industry trade associations such as the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), that sponsor and promote various projects, research, and working groups that focus on sustainability and child labor issues in the cocoa sector.

In June 2014, Barry Callebaut was one of the 12 companies which committed to CocoaAction, an unprecedented industry strategy to modernize the cocoa sector.

Barry Callebaut also organises CHOCOVISION, the only business-for-business conference in the cocoa value chain, bringing together nearly 200 key stakeholders from around the world.

Category: Sustainability