Since 2018, The Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) signatory companies, of which Barry Callebaut is one, have been working to fulfil their commitments to end deforestation and restore degraded forests in the cocoa sector.
In 2019, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana delivered on numerous commitments which have informed company planning. Companies will now be able to further develop their activities, moving from planning to implementation, says Barry Callebaut in its CFI Progress Progress Report 2018 – 2019.
We will participate in incountry working groups, technical and steering committees, both on national and international levels. As we continue to implement sustainability activities and programs we will independently verify our efforts by third-party auditors -- Oliver von Hagen
“As the governments continue to provide critical information (socio-economic assessments, updated land-use maps, operational decrees for implementation of the new forest code, for example), companies will continue to ramp up their delivery of CFI activities in alignment with government priorities.
“This will include identifying opportunities for landscape level collective action, as well as building partnerships with global development partners to drive forest positive impact on the ground.”
Barry Callebaut is one of the leading companies driving the CFI Frameworks for Action, and it has pledged to continue to drive progress to ensure successful implementation of its goals.
“We will participate in incountry working groups, technical and steering committees, both on national and international levels. As we continue to implement sustainability activities and programs we will independently verify our efforts by third-party auditors,” it says in its report.
Oliver von Hagen, Barry Callebaut’s director global ingredients sustainability and carbon and forest programs, says a key focus has been the mapping of the location of farmers it is sourcing from in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – and the group is “definitely on track to meeting our commitments.
“Mapping is really a critical step to ending deforestation because it tells us if the farm is located in a protected forest area, or how far away it is from there. It also allows us to exclude cocoa purchases from farms fully or partly located within a protected area boundary.”
The Group claims it has now mapped over 222,000 farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, using teams on the ground that are literally walking farm perimeters covering an area of almost 160,000km.
“When you put that into context, that's around four times the earth's circumference. It is a big achievement and its thanks to the dedication of our employees to turn this commitment into action,” says von Hagen.
He says it is not only eliminating deforestation from its supply chain but also committing to forest restoration. “Working with our customers, we have distributed over 3 million cocoa seedlings and over 750,000 shade trees. This momentous effort shows that we have almost achieved our CFI commitment to distribute 3.2 million seedlings and 1.2 million shade trees by 2022.
“In addition, we have helped to protect over 6,000 hectares of primary forest and restore 3,800 hectares of forest by removing illegal cocoa and allowing natural forest regeneration in the forest reserve of Cavally, Côte d’Ivoire.”
Under its inhouse Forever Chocolate sustainability program, Barry Callebaut says it plans to make ‘sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025’, and become carbon and forest positive with more than 500,000 cocoa farmers in its supply chain lifted out of poverty.
Since the establishment of its CFI Action Plan, Barry Callebaut says it has trained over 280,000 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana on Good Agricultural Practices, also called GAPs.
“In these trainings, farmers learn about agroforestry and biodiversity. We have also worked diligently to design Farm Business Plans to enable farmers to develop their cocoa farms into rehabilitated, diverse and professionally run farms over a period of several years. The Plans also help farmers to access labor and inputs on credit. In 2019, we delivered over 22,000."
In line with its CFI commitment, Barry Callebaut says in the following 12 months it will continue its mapping of farms in its supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
“We will also collaborate with industry partners and cocoa origin governments to expand such initiatives to regenerate degraded forests, as well as explore exciting new technologies to promote reforestation,” says von Hagen.