ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Barry Callebaut sourced 51% of its ingredients sustainably this year, including 47% of cocoa and 54% of other ingredients.
The company is on track to achieve 100% sustainable chocolate sourcing by 2025, said Antoine de Saint-Affrique, chief executive officer at Barry Callebaut Group.
Using only sustainable ingredients is one part of the company’s Chocolate Forever plan. Launched in 2016, the plan also aims to lift at least half a million cocoa farmers out of poverty and eradicate child labor from the supply chain.
Barry Callebaut is using a combination of big data and technology to meet these commitments. It already has mapped the geographical locations and size of 295,383 cocoa farms and conducted interviews with close to 230,000 farmers. The combined data is used to individualize farmer business plans and assess the risk of child labor.
Big data and tech investments allowed Barry Callebaut to create a heat map of farms that are at risk of causing deforestation or sourcing from a protected forest area. The company also combined farmer data with satellite data to more accurately measure its carbon footprint. Rather than relying on country data, it now crunches numbers for each individual farm.
Similar data-driven approaches are used for other ingredients, including cane sugar, soy lecithin and palm oil, Barry Callebaut said.
“In the past fiscal year, we focused on big innovative projects that we know will create the tipping point for a sustainable chocolate supply chain,” said Pablo Perversi, chief innovation, sustainability and quality officer and global head of gourmet at Barry Callebaut. “Our progress report shows that this focus is working, creating tangible impact on the ground for cocoa farmers, cocoa farming communities and all the other players in our supply chain.”
The Chocolate Forever program was named the No. 1 sustainability strategy in the packaged foods industry by Sustainalytics, a company that assesses sustainable sourcing efforts, earlier this year.
Other companies also are investing in sustainable cocoa sourcing programs. Cargill recently announced it will spend more than $12 million over the next three years to improve sustainability and supply chain traceability programs in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Initiatives will focus on reducing child labor, building schools, promoting female economic inclusion and providing training to farmers.