Barry Callebaut is prepared to supply more certified cocoa if the industry demands it, but with 12% total cocoa volumes coming from ‘sustainable’ sources it says it already has more sustainable cocoa products than the market currently wants.
The company said during a media conference for its full year results last week that 12% of its cocoa volume were ‘sustainable cocoa’ – that is cocoa either from a third party certified farm such as Fairtrade and through Barry Callebaut’s own sustainable cocoa programs such as its Quality Partner Program (QPP).
The company told this site that customer demand for its sustainable cocoa and chocolate products grew 56% in fiscal year 2012/13, but it was still supplying more than the market required.
Sustainable Cocoa: ‘Trend not continuing rapidly’
“We doubled our certification business last year - so the volume of products which are certified to the market,” said the company’s CEO Juergen Steinemann during the media conference.
“But we see another trend – the trend is not continuing rapidly. So we have much more certified products than the market current wants
“It’s not a big problem because it’s not 80% of our products. 12% of our products we are selling are certified and we can supply more if the market wants it.”
He said that Barry Callebaut’s customers wanted it to provide sustainable products without increasing the cost, but said the increase in yields per hectare “more or less balance out the disadvantage of the costs of certification which are very high”.
Why no target for sustainable cocoa?
Barry Callebaut, including the Petra business, purchased 920,000 metric tons (MT) in in crop year 2012/13, accounting for 23 % of the world crop.
We asked if the company intended to set targets to eventually move to fully sustainable cocoa like Hershey, Ferrero and Mars.
Raphael Wemuth, head of media relations at Barry Callebaut, told this site: “We believe it's going beyond setting targets. We aim for a sustainable supply chain.”
He said this meant encouraging farmers to engage in responsible labor practices that also safeguarded the environment and provided basic health and education needs to famers’ families.
“This goes much further than just saying - for example - by 2020 we have fully switched to sustainable/certified cocoa.”
Barry Callebaut initiatives and certified products
Barry Callebaut’s 12% sustainable cocoa supply comes roughly half from third party certified sources and half from its own programs.
Barry Callebaut supplies products from third party certification organizations including UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International and Fair-for-Life
It also sources from the organization Organic and from certified organic cocoa exporter Biolands Tanzania, which it part-owned by Callebaut.
In addition, the company’s own sustainability program, QPP, accounts for 7% of its total volumes or 60,000 MT. The firm plans to ramp this figure up to 100,000 MT in the next five years, it said during a company visit earlier this year.
In 2012, the company launched 10-year CHF 40m ($43m) cocoa sustainability initiative, Cocoa Horizons, which aims to double the yield per hectare of cocoa farmers (+800 kg/ha) by 2018.