SWITZERLLAND— Swiss chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut, in its efforts to achieve sustainable chocolate by 2025, has outlined measures including precise mapping of farms through polygon mapping, data collection on farmer communities and the setup of human rights and environmental risk assessments.

According to the company, outlining the boundaries of a farm through polygon mapping helps establish its proximity to forests and potential risks of expansion into protected areas. Combining this information with additional data on the farmer, their family and the community gives a solid picture of what specific farms need to transition to sustainable agricultural practices.

These datasets are a cornerstone in developing robust risk assessments for environmental and human rights abuses in compliance with upcoming due diligence legislation, thus advancing efforts to tackle the main sustainability challenges in the cocoa sector.

Progress towards traceability thus far

Barry Callebaut has already achieved high levels of traceability in its direct supply chain. The company said it has been publicly disclosing the geolocation of our direct suppliers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon since 2019.

It reported a total of 240,570 farms located within 25 kilometers of a protected forest area were mapped and monitored In 2020/21.

This has led to full traceability for cocoa beans originating from these farms, the company said. “Overall, we have reached 80% traceability to cooperative level and 60% to farm level. We are confident we will reach full traceability across our direct supply chain by 2025.”

Overall, we have reached 80% traceability to cooperative level and 60% to farm level. We are confident we will reach full traceability across our direct supply chain by 2025

At the same time, the company said it is focusing on developing projects that aim to transfer its traceability know-how from its direct to indirect supply chain.

In 2021, the company conducted a pilot program with three key indirect suppliers in Côte d’Ivoire. Which involved training its suppliers to enable precise and timely data collection.

The company reports that through this project, it has gained a great deal of insights into the current maturity level of traceability among local indirect suppliers and how to best assist them to further improve and scale up their traceability efforts.

Additionally, in 2019 Barry Callebaut together with the European Cocoa Association, other companies and NGOs launched calls requesting that the European Union introduce legislation setting a due diligence obligation on all companies that place cocoa or cocoa products on the EU market.

“We are happy to see that our vision and accompanying advocacy work are yielding results and are supporting the development of a level playing field for all companies,” said Barry Callebaut in a press release.

Barry also said that in recent months, it has also collaborated with Conseil Café Cacao (CCC) in Côte d’Ivoire on a traceability trial project that has involved sharing farmer data for the region of Aboisso so that it can be merged with government-owned data.

The aim of the trial project is to feed the learnings into the development of a consolidated national farm database, currently being built by the CCC.

Steven Retzlaff, President Global Cocoa, sums up “We are proud to be a leading company on implementing traceability – and to see the benefits of combining regulatory and industry initiatives in origin and consuming countries. These coordinated efforts will streamline the advancement of sustainability in the cocoa sector and support making sustainable chocolate the norm”.

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