Barry Callebaut - the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products - today announced its 2012/13 Sustainability Report which details the company's strategy in the areas of sustainable cocoa, environmental protection and employee development.
The report focuses on the Barry Callebaut initiatives that improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, through sustainable cocoa practices.
"With a growing global demand for chocolate, a sustainable cocoa supply chain is vital for long-term business growth," said Barry Callebaut CEO Juergen Steinemann. "In order to ensure sufficient cocoa production for years to come, we have embedded sustainability into our corporate strategy."
As outlined in the report, Barry Callebaut has identified three main challenges to sustainable cocoa farming:
-Need for farmer training in good agricultural practices to improve crop productivity and farmer income
-Lack of adequate plant materials, fertilizers and pesticides available to farmers
-Insufficient farmer access to funds to invest in pesticides, fertilizers and yield-enhancing practices.
To address the gaps in knowledge, materials and funding, the report documents the various elements of the company’s global sustainability initiative, Cocoa Horizons. Established in 2012, the program is built upon three key pillars to improve cocoa sustainability: farmer practices, farmer education and farmer health.
Improving farmer practices through training is at the heart of Cocoa Horizons. Barry Callebaut believes that farmer training leads to better agricultural practices, which lead to more productive cocoa trees, higher yields, increased farmer incomes, and ultimately better livelihood for farmers.
The report highlights the opening of a new Cocoa Center of Excellence in Pacobo, Côte d’Ivoire, to equip farmers with practical know-how. The Center, which opened in July 2013, provides training in good agricultural practices, post-harvest management techniques, optimal use of inputs, crop diversification, farm rehabilitation and grafting, and basic business skills.
Approximately 300 managers of cocoa cooperatives will receive training during the center’s first year of operation. Once qualified, those farmers will share knowledge with two additional Barry Callebaut farmer academies, then 12 model farms, and eventually to 575 field schools across Côte d’Ivoire. This cascade approach was designed to provide advanced training to farmers in even some of the most remote areas of Africa. To date, 110,000 farmers across Africa have received training.
Farmer Education and Health
In addition to farmer training, Cocoa Horizons has community programs that improve access to primary education for children of farm workers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Brazil. These programs also provide cocoa curriculum; contribute to educational infrastructure; and support literacy, life skills and vocational training.
Cocoa Horizons also addresses basic health needs of farmers in remote cocoa farming regions. Barry Callebaut works with its partner cooperatives, and the communities themselves, to provide access to potable water.
"Now more than ever, our customers are interested in products with a certain level of social and environmental assurance," said Dave Johnson, president and CEO of Barry Callebaut Region Americas. "Our sustainability initiatives allow us to be a leading supplier of sustainable as well as certified cocoa and chocolate products," he added. "From sourcing and processing cocoa beans, to manufacturing the highest quality chocolate, Barry Callebaut remains committed to improving sustainability along the entire cocoa supply chain."
The report also presents Barry Callebaut’s sustainability strategy for environmental protection and employee development. The company makes concerted efforts to minimize its environmental impact in the areas of production and transportation, which account for the majority of its environmental footprint. Barry Callebaut also remains focused on preparing future leaders by developing and promoting its people to fulfill their potential.
Barry Callebaut’s reporting uses leading standards and methodologies for measuring and reporting impacts, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Global Reporting Initiative.