As part of a commitment started five years ago, Olam Cocoa says it can now track approximately 12% of the world’s cocoa beans back to an individual farm or community.
This breakthrough is the first significant milestone for Cocoa Compass, Olam Cocoa’s sustainability ambition for the future of cocoa. In a progress update, the company confirmed it is on track to meet its targets.
These include a commitment to achieving 100% deforestation and child labour monitoring across all managed sustainability programmes worldwide in its direct supply chain by the end of 2020.
Gerard A Manley, CEO, Olam Cocoa, said: “Cocoa traceability has been a significant challenge for the industry due to the fragmented farming systems and lack of infrastructure in many cocoa growing areas. To deliver on our commitments, we require an unprecedented level of granular data and on the ground expertise to effectively monitor our supply chain and act on issues such as child labour and deforestation."
To achieve 100% traceability, Olam Cocoa has developed an end-to-end traceability system that tracks the cocoa at every stage in the direct supply chain across nine countries: Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Uganda.
By collecting data, such as farm and community metrics, cocoa bean purchasing and transportation information, and details on the facility where the cocoa was processed, it can provide unprecedented transparency for customers and allow sustainability programmes targeted at tackling child labour and deforestation to be tailored to the specific needs of farmers and cocoa-growing communities.
Olam & Farmer Information System (OFIS), which feeds through to Olam’s sustainability insights platform AtSource, shows where the cocoa beans have come from, as well as the social and environmental impact they have had on their journey from source to manufacturer.
“A combination of our origination infrastructure and the processes we have developed over the past 25 years, combined with the rapid increase in mobile and internet capability, means that our field teams can now collect, transmit and analyse reliable and consistent data in even the most remote locations. This is supported by the latest technology, such as real-time satellite mapping systems that penetrate cloud cover,” said Manley.
Over 325,000 cocoa farmers across Asia, Africa and South America are now using Olam’s sustainability technology to share their data in this way, the company said.
“Achieving 100% direct source traceability is a significant step towards our longer-term ambition of a professionalised and quality-focused cocoa supply chain, one where farmers are earning a living income, child labour is eliminated, and the natural world is protected,” Manley added.