We all love chocolate and we want it to be around forever. But to do that, sustainable chocolate must become the norm. That is why we’re committed to finding bold new ways of doing business and bringing partners together to make it happen.
Click here to understand why we need to act.
In 2016 Barry Callebaut launched Forever Chocolate, our bold plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. With four time-bound, public and ambitious commitments, we have committed to lift more than 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty, eradicate child labor from our supply chain, be carbon and forest positive, and to have 100% sustainable ingredients in all of our products.
2021 is a special year for Barry Callebaut, this year marks the 25-year anniversary of the company and it also means that we are halfway through our plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025.
Looking at the progress we made since 2016, we are very proud of our achievements so far. In the first five years of Forever Chocolate, we have reduced our carbon intensity per tonne of product by more than –17%, lifted 214,584 cocoa farmers (+50%) in our supply chain out of extreme poverty – on a trajectory towards a living income – and reached 43% of the cocoa and chocolate products sold containing sustainably sourced cocoa. In addition, through the scaling of our traceability and sourcing efforts, we reduced the Land Use Change (LUC) impact from cocoa cultivation by over –10%. While there is still work to be done, these results signify tangible impact on the ground.
Since the commencement of Forever Chocolate in 2016, we have been able to reduce our overall corporate carbon intensity per tonne of product by more than -17%. In addition, we also made outstanding progress in 2020/21 to reduce the carbon emissions caused by Land Use Change (LUC). Identifying and measuring deforestation and carbon emissions associated with LUC, at a large scale and in sufficient detail, is notoriously difficult. This challenge becomes even more difficult when third-party suppliers which have complex supply chains enter the picture. However, in 2020/21 we produced exciting results from two projects. Teaming up with EcoVision Lab, part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) Switzerland, led to the development of a publicly available, industry-first, indicative High Carbon Stock (HCS) map that identifies forests with high conservation value and areas where deforestation would cause the highest carbon emissions. In addition, in collaboration with the Gold Standard Foundation and Agolin, this year we developed a new methodology to quantify and certify carbon insetting for dairy within our chocolate supply chain. Dairy products are a key ingredient in many of our chocolate products and it is also one of the major contributors to our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint.
Biodiversity is an important element for evaluating our progress on becoming forest positive. In May 2021, we commenced the re-planting of 300 hectares of degraded forest in Côte d’Ivoire. Through this activity, we are also creating employment opportunities for local communities. We intend to scale this activity and focus on the restoration of classified forests and other areas to ensure sustainability and the achievement of our Forever Chocolate commitments. We are also actively engaging in action-oriented business coalitions, such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B), joining forces with other ambitious industry players to drive systemic change and restore natural biodiversity within value chains, aiming to accelerate the transition to successful sustainable business models.
Forever Chocolate is about much more than doing the right thing. It is about securing the future of chocolate.
The persistence of COVID-19 in 2020/21 continued to disrupt the livelihoods of many people across the globe, including cocoa growing communities. Our sustainability efforts rely heavily on Barry Callebaut’s people on the ground, and despite decreased physical access to farmers and their families, we were able to execute innovative projects and support cocoa farming communities. In fiscal year 2020/21, we focused extensively on scaling and partnering for change. We have teamed up with experts from Embode to implement our new approach to tackling child labor, which sets clear internal milestones to guide planning, implementation, and stakeholder engagement.
One of our greatest achievements this year has been a reduction of our Land Use Change (LUC), meaning the carbon emissions resulting from the transformation of forest land to agricultural land, by over –10.0%. Achieving this outstanding feat underlines our commitment to establishing traceability in our supply chain. We have also created industry firsts in the way we measure and quantify carbon emission in dairy production.
Our vision extends beyond the borders of our own company. Ultimately, we want to see a cocoa industry that is thriving and sustainable, where farmers prosper, communities are empowered, and the environment is protected.
At Barry Callebaut, we are the key partner for our customers for strategic support and for turning sustainability commitments into reality. We work with, and implement, various sustainable cocoa programs to improve cocoa farmer livelihoods and farming practices. Among them is Cocoa Horizons, our preferred vehicle to drive impact and deliver on our Forever Chocolate ambition. In 2020/21, we extended our Cocoa Horizons program by offering customers an exclusive program that includes an additional payment to cocoa farmers on top of Cocoa Horizons premiums. In the preceding year, our global Gourmet brands had led the charge by transitioning to 100% sustainably sourced cocoa or ingredients.
Since we started our Forever Chocolate journey, we have been driven to make sustainable chocolate the norm, even though we were clear that we did not have all the answers to achieve our goals. It is a road which we are still traveling on. However, as we look back over the past five years we see there has been a progressive scaling up in our activities and continued partnering with societal and industry stakeholders to create tangible impact on the ground. Every year, we report on the progress of our Forever Chocolate commitments, which is verified by a third-party auditor.
The external recognition of Forever Chocolate is growing, which is testimony to our, and our partners’, ongoing commitment to create impact on the ground and lead change. For the third consecutive year, Sustainalytics has recognized Barry Callebaut as an industry leader in the management of the ESG risks in our supply chain. In addition, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent organization assesses the carbon reduction plans of companies. After ranking Barry Callebaut for four years in a row as a CDP global climate leader with a score of A- for our climate reduction efforts, we are now for the first time, making the ‘A List’ as a leader in corporate action and transparency on deforestation.
As part of our 2025 commitment to become forest positive, in 2019/20 we publicly disclosed our direct cocoa suppliers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon. This map is regularly updated. In addition, this year we finalized a procedure for selected indirect suppliers to undertake traceability activities, such as farmer mapping and census information.
We always seek to understand issues of concern and respond accordingly, and we do not shy away from reporting on the challenges in our supply chain in order to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. This year we hosted our first dedicated ESG Investor Roadshow and Governance Roadshow to present and discuss ESG topics with interested investors
If we want to make sustainable chocolate the norm, our actions have to extend beyond Barry Callebaut – creating a movement of cocoa farming communities, industry, governments, and societal stakeholders. In the past year we have participated, through trade associations and multi stakeholder platforms, in constructive dialogue between cocoa origin governments and cocoa consuming regions. However, all the efforts and accomplishments are only made possible with the expertise, dedication and hard work of all the 12,000 Barry Callebaut colleagues, our partners and our customers, who are embracing the sustainability pathway reflected in our Forever Chocolate movement.
In 2018 we launched, Seeds for Change, our employee engagement program for sustainability to enable employees across the globe to directly contribute to our Forever Chocolate commitment and make a positive impact. With more than 160 volunteer ambassadors motivating 12,000 employees worldwide, Seeds for Change is an innovative and encouraging way to drive learning and empowerment throughout the organization. Since the start of the program, our employees have contributed to the planting of 200,000 trees in cocoa origin countries. This is the size of 170 football fields.
We also take in graduates and interns from higher education programs into our team annually, to get real-world experience to advance their future careers. Our e-learning modules continue to educate all of our employees on sustainability, and we’ve made learning fun, by turning our Forever Chocolate approach into a board game.