In its 175th anniversary year, the Bordeaux-based Group highlighted its vision in its new sustainability report while outlining ongoing challenges that over the past year have included a multitude of challenges, ranging from the immediate negative economic impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the cocoa and coffee production deficits, and tensions in the vanilla sector.
Additionally, Touton said longer-term underlying challenges of climate change and the economic development of producing countries in relation to these commodities are transforming markets and regulations.
“At a time when the European Union is stepping up the pace of supply chain regulation, we must also deal with a historically high market and anticipate the prospect of tighter production level in the year ahead. In the search for efficient solutions, each of these challenges puts to test our capacity to adapt and innovate. To meet and surpass these challenges, we draw on our values to convert those issues into opportunities and to become a driving force for change,” said Patrick de Boussac, CEO of the Touton Group.
Touton’s 2023 sustainability report highlights how it chose to leverage its expertise as a supply chain manager to lead by example while remaining transparent by what it described as ‘cultivating audacity’ including investing in research, partnerships, and startup-led solutions to support the climate and economic resilience of partner producers in cocoa, coffee, and ingredients.
Some of the examples highlighted in the report include:
- Partnering with leading initiatives and favouring multi-stakeholder approaches such as the Cavally Landscape project to protect the forest reserve or the CLEF, Child Learning and Education Facility project to tackle the underlying causes of child labour in Cote d’Ivoire.
- Developing its own grassroots targeted innovative programmes including “Child Ambassadors”, allowing children to become agents of positive change in Ghana’s cocoa supply chains or setting up “Agripreneurs” brigades to support employment for youth and offer cocoa (Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana) or coffee (Uganda) farmers a range of agricultural services.
- Increasing agility: By ensuring the efficient management of its supply chains and offering a level of service excellence to its customers beyond compliance.
- Strengthening of the company’s vertical integration and subsidiary network with a new 25,000m2 logistics platform in San Pedro, Côte d’Ivoire, and the opening of Kahawa Pamoja, a new sourcing entity in Tanzania for Arabica coffee.
- Combating global warming and deforestation by working on its low carbon pathway, but also offering climate-friendly and regenerative agriculture-based coffee supply chains in Uganda and Tanzania.
- Initiating a unique Sustainable Procurement Standard by Touton, based on the company’s expertise, to go even faster and further in the sustainable conversion of its value chains.
The report also highlighted that by strengthening the group’s governance structure and consolidating its compliance tools, it will lead to improving third-party evaluation assessments, anti-corruption, and management by quality systems, including renewing its set of audited KPIs and indicators for greater transparency, monitoring of Touton’s impact and of how business is conducted.