- Fifty-one percent of chocolatier Barry Callebaut's raw ingredients are now sustainably sourced, according to the company's Forever Chocolate progress report. Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group, said in a release that the company is "well on track" to have 100% of its chocolate from sustainable sources by 2025.
- Barry Callebaut also reduced its carbon footprint by 6.7%, while achieving 5.1% growth in production. The company estimated 184,623 cocoa farmers in its supply chain have been lifted out of poverty and it has protected 15,518 acres of primary forest while restoring 9,390 acres by removing illegal cocoa operations and allowing natural forest regeneration.
- The company’s Forever Chocolate program aims to raise 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty, eradicate child labor from its supply chain, have a positive impact on carbon and deforestation and have 100% sustainable ingredients in all products by 2025.
This is the third year Barry Callebaut has been working toward its Forever Chocolate program goals. According to 2019 measurements, 47% of the company’s cocoa beans and 54% of its other non-cocoa agricultural raw materials were sourced sustainably. Last year, those numbers were both at 44%. In its first progress report in 2017, the percentage of sustainably sourced chocolate was 36%.
The company tracks its progress toward sustainability through the group’s Cocoa Horizons program as well as external certification organizations such as UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and Organic. These same third parties also help Barry Callebaut track its progress achieving its other three goals. Using outside resources to monitor the company's goals and give it consistent updates could give the company more credibility.
Although reaching more than 50% sustainability is laudable, the Swiss chocolatier is not the only chocolate company working toward sustainability. Nestlé, Lindt, Mars, Mondelez and Cargill have all ramped up their investments and pledges in sustainability. Cargill, in particular, has had some success with its Cargill Cocoa Promise that encourages good farming practices. According to Ingredients Network, cocoa yields jumped by an average of 49% in 2016 and 2017.
Hershey also is focused on sustainability with its "Cocoa For Good" program that focuses on eliminating child labor, boosting household income and instituting a zero-deforestation policy. So far, it's shown signs of paying off. Hershey increased its certified and sustainable cocoa sourcing to 60% in 2016, 75% in 2017 and 80% last year.
The competitive sustainability goals among large chocolate manufacturers come as the category faces challenges. Decreasing deforestation and the overall carbon footprint from the supply chain has become increasingly significant in the industry. A study from the Climactic Change journal showed that by 2050 many current cocoa producing areas, especially in West Africa, will become unsuitable for production.
At the same time, global demand for chocolate has soared, particularly in the U.S. The global chocolate market is forecast to reach $139 billion by 2024 with growth averaging 4.5% annually, according to Mordor Intelligence.
With so much demand for cocoa beans, any loss of productive land would be a blow to chocolate manufacturers and consumers who may have to pay higher prices. Despite the pledges, the Cocoa Barometer 2018 report found that chocolate companies’ programs have had little impact on sustainability during the past decade. For companies such as Barry Callebaut to succeed and ensure they have a reliable supply of chocolate in the future, they can't afford to ease up on their sustainability pledges.