Barry Callebaut reduces its carbon footprint by –8.1% as sustainability targets remain on track

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Barry Callebaut says it has made ‘great progress in its carbon reduction efforts. Pic: Barry Callebaut
Barry Callebaut says it has made ‘great progress in its carbon reduction efforts. Pic: Barry Callebaut

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Milestone highlighted in company’s Forever Chocolate Progress Report 2019-20, marking its progress towards the goal of ‘making sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025’.

Barry Callebaut says it has mapped 181,861 farms on geographic and socio-economic data; trained 94,946 cocoa farmers on child labour awareness; distributed over 2.0 million cocoa seedlings and over 1.6 million shade trees; and sourced 61% of its non-cocoa ingredients from sustainable sources.

As one of the world's largest cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers, Barry Callebaut says its push to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025 remains on track with the publication of its fourth Forever Chocolate sustainability report.

Sustainability is Barry Callebaut and Barry Callebaut is sustainability -- Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer and Global Head of Gourmet

The Swiss-headquartered company also reveals its global gourmet brands, Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma, have successfully implemented a 100% sustainable cocoa supply chain.

If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic is underlining the importance of sustainable supply chains and the relevance of our Forever Chocolate ambition​,” says Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group.

We believe that challenging years like this one are the time when further scaling impact, developing new partnerships and executing innovative projects is even more critical! We simply did not pause on our sustainability ambition in COVID-19 times​.”

Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer and Global Head of Gourmet, told this publication that “sustainability is Barry Callebaut and Barry Callebaut is sustainability​”.

Innovation and reputation

As well as on an ethical level, sustainability is now firmly woven into its DNA, so much so that bonus schemes are linked to sustainability targets, and it is a magnet for recruiting top talent in the industry because of its innovation and reputation.

It not only makes ethical sense, but business sense​,” says Perversi, as its eagerness eager to be seen as using sustainably sourced ingredients also attacts new customers.

We sell to a big part of the industry – cocoa, chocolate, drinks – and what you find is we play a very important role in incentivising and inspiring brands to help them sell more through sustainability​.”


To help it better understand its sustainability targets, its KPI have been revised. Perversi says the adjustments have been made to understand its driving impact going forward and also to normalise going backwards to see progress made from one year to the other

What’s clear, says Perversi, is that the latest Forever Chocolate Report shows good growth from one year to another.

The new Forever Chocolate KPIs for sustainable chocolate are focused on the percentage of sustainably sourced raw materials, the company notes in its report.

In order to provide a better picture of how the market for sustainable cocoa is developing, we have decided to change our KPI going forward and focus on the % of cocoa and chocolate products sold that contain 100% sustainable cocoa or chocolate.”

"In 2019-20, we sourced 61% (+13%) of our ingredients, excluding cocoa, from sustainable sources. Including cocoa, we sourced 47%, (–8.5%) of our ingredients from sustainable sources.

"Reporting on the percentage of sustainably sourced non-cocoa raw materials remains the most accurate indicator of progress. In 2019/20, the percentage of cocoa and chocolate products sold that contain sustainable cocoa is 37%​,” the report states.

The new Forever Chocolate Report rounds off by stating the premiums from the purchase of Cocoa Horizons products, its preferred vehicle to enable the implementation of sustainability activities, generated CHF 17.7 million ($19.85m) in funds (+20.4%).

These funds are invested into activities to drive cocoa farmer professionalization and prosperity, eradicate child labour and deforestation, and become carbon positive​.”

Child labour

In its ongoing mission to eradicate child labour from its supply chain by 2025, Barry Callebaut continued the roll-out of child labour monitoring and remediation systems developed by the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI).

The company says it has discovered 22,965 cases of child labour in its cocoa supply chain in the past 12 months and admits it was ‘a strong increase compared to the previous year, due to the application of a broader definition of what constitutes the worst forms of child labour in Ghana’.

Remediation is being prepared for all the identified cases and Barry Callebaut says of the reported cases it found in previous years, 4,971 cases are under remediation.

Barry Callebaut says aid its monitoring and remediation work on the ground in cocoa origin countries involves visiting households and communities to identify children at risk of child labour.

Our monitoring and remediation systems now cover 113 farmer groups, including 39,909 (+139%) farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Cameroon. In 2019/20 we trained 94,946 (+17%) farmers on child labour awareness​,” it says in the report.


Perversi, says the company is fully committed to the Living Income Differential (LID) payments that go to help farmer poverty, and therefore child labour, in West Africa.

We are paying for it and anything that is for the improvement of the lives of the farmers in a way that is ethical, we will continue to support​,” he says.


The company states that even during the coronavirus crisis, it continued the mapping of farms and the collection of census data on the farming communities it source from. “We were able to further progress with farmer training and coaching, the distribution of seedlings and trees, as well as providing agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, planting materials, crop and livestock diversification packages. In addition, we used our farmer network to distribute soap and public health authorities’ information on COVID-19​,” it says.

Barry Callebaut’s global employee engagement initiative, ‘Seeds for Change’, has also motivated its employees to support farmers impacted by the pandemic. As a result, the scheme helped to fund the provision of soap, clean water stations, masks and sanitizer kits to cocoa farming communities

Carbon and Forest Positive

In its bid to be carbon and forest positive by 2025, Barry Callebaut says it has made ‘great progress’. “Our carbon reduction efforts in fiscal year 2019/20 have resulted in a –8.1% reduction of our corporate carbon footprint, from 8.5 million tonnes to 7.8 million tonnes CO2e (carbon equivalents)​.”

The successful reduction of our carbon footprint is the result of groundbreaking innovation, partnerships and decisive action​,” says Nicko Debenham, Barry Callebaut’s Head of Sustainability.

Our carbon intensity decreased from 3.93 to 3.73 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of product, and with the additional contributions from scope 3 insetting projects as assured by the Gold Standard Foundation, was further brought down to 3.65 tonnes CO2e per tonne of product. This is a decrease of –6.9 % compared to the previous fiscal year​.”

To end deforestation and to become forest positive, the company says it continued to map cocoa farms in its direct supply chain within 25 kilometres of a protected forest area in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon. “This year, we mapped 52,558 (+11%) farms in our direct supply chain located within 25 kilometers of a protected forest area​,” it claims.


Our global gourmet brands Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma are leading the charge on our Group’s target to source all of our ingredients sustainably by 2025. It is an important milestone to further build the market pull for sustainably sourced raw materials​,” says Perversi.

He says the company is trying to use Gourmet as an example for everybody. “We have brands claiming carbon neutrality into the future, we have brands claiming a first on traceability for chocolate and our Cocoa Horizons continues to grow as a sustainability platform, which translates into companies wanting to work with us much more and we are using that reach to enthuse and inspire brands to do their best​.”

Perversi recognises there are still challenges ahead in making its other ingredients such as sugar or dairy completely sustainable, but they have made great progress and the focus will also shift to its nuts businesses, La Morella and American Almonds, which are starting their sustainable journey.

Barry Callebaut’s chief sustainability officer also says its latest report marks a new phase in the company’s mission and much has been learned since the first one four years ago.

The way things were done in the past is not the way of the future. Innovation is crucial to everything we are doing to accelerate the impact​.

We took the time to learn with pilot schemes and understand what works on the ground and what doesn’t. Now it’s time for scaling, which is a different game when you are actually trying to drive impact because you need systems and people on the ground and a very agile way of working​.

You also need technology and investment – and all of these are opening a completely new dimension to sustainability and are also helping us position sustainability to differentiate strategically for our company​,” he says.

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