At the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM), the French firm announced that it would invest €20m ($23m) across three years to ensure its annual cocoa volumes (140,000 MT) are fully traceable.
Under the Transparence program, Cémoi will work with 60,000 farmers across Côte D’Ivoire, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.
‘It’s a full transparency’
The company has partnered with Swiss non-profit The Forest Trust, which will measure and approve key performance indicators for the project.
Patrick Poirrier, CEO of Cémoi, told ConfectioneryNews: “We are going to be naked…it’s a full transparency from the finished goods to the beans. We are going to explain what type of supplier is supplying the cocoa – is it a cooperative, is it not a cooperative, what is the traceability level we’ve got, what’s the level of commitment we’ve got with the cooperative.”
Poirrier, who is also the president of The Association of Chocolate, Biscuits and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO), said the chocolate industry had been shaken by a lack of traceability in the meat market.
“The industry has been shocked, I think, by the horse meat scandal and what we want to show in Cémoi is that we are totally transparent about what is going on inside.”
Boarder scope than PACTS
Since 2010, Cémoi has operated the Processors Alliance for Cocoa Traceability and Sustainability (PACTS) program with Blommer Chocolate and Petra Foods. Last year, Cémoi told us thataround 5% of the group’s cocoa volumes were covered by PACTS. The firm set a goal for all cocoa for its Cémoi brand to come from a sustainable source by 2020, but set no target for B2B volumes.
“Usually when we talk about the [PACTS] program, we talk about a smaller quantity. Today, we want to have a broad view of all our cocoa usage and explain where our cocoa is coming from,” said Poirrier.
Cémoi's Three Pillars for Transparence
- Knowing – the profile of suppliers, cooperatives and farmers.
- Transforming – the needs of the cooperatives and farmers into projects.
- Verifying – then progression of the project with achievement indicators, verifiable by external partners.
‘Certification is a logo’
“Customers want to see more than certification. Certification is a logo but they sometimes don’t understand what is behind it,” he continued.
Around half of Cémoi’s cocoa volumes are sold to B2B customers as chocolate, cocoa liquor and beans. Poirrier said that Cémoi’s B2B customers would be able to plug the Transparence project in their own sustainability programs.
“It will help firms who are using our chocolate for private label. Each supermarket has got their own program and they want to understand what is inside,” said the Cémoi head.
No Cémoi-owned plantations
Cémoi intends to achieve full traceability by working with farmer cooperatives rather than setting up its own cocoa plantation as Ritter Sport has done in Nicaragua.
“We don’t intend to have our own farm. We want to help farmers,” said Poirrier,
But the CAOBISCO president acknowledged the challenge ahead. He said that cocoa production had remained at around 300 kg per hectare since the Seventies. The Cémoi chief added that cacao trees would soon be competing for space in developing countries as rising local populations start to grow crops for their own needs rather than for export markets.