Brands lead on sustainable cocoa goals, Cargill and Barry Callebaut suggest

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Burden on consumer brands for sustainable cocoa targets, say Cargill and Barry Callebaut
Burden on consumer brands for sustainable cocoa targets, say Cargill and Barry Callebaut

Related tags Sustainable cocoa International organization for standardization World cocoa foundation Barry callebaut Cargill

The leading cocoa processors say they will support brand manufacturers to achieve fully sustainable cocoa, but decline to publicly set their own targets.

Manufacturers such as Hershey, Mars, Ferrero and Cloetta, Nestlé USA have committed to sourcing 100% certified cocoa from sources such as UTZ and Fairtrade, mostly by 2020.

Hershey said yesterday that 30% of its supply was certified and it set a more ambitious target to reach 50% by the end of the year.

The two largest cocoa processors and industrial chocolate producers supply cocoa products from certified sources, but say it’s not their place to set sustainable cocoa targets.

Barry Callebaut: ‘It may not be in line with what our customers want’

Nicko Debenham, VP global cocoa sustainability at Barry Callebaut, told ConfectioneryNews that his company was committed to sustainable cocoa, but its primary goal was to support customers to achieve their targets.

Nicko Debenham, VP global cocoa sustainability at Barry Callebaut

“We are committed to sustainable cocoa. As we are not a consumer brand, our primary goal is to support our customers to achieve their targets”

“We are a B2B company and we don’t have a consumer brand. If we make a specific commitment it may not be in line with what our customers want.”

13% of Barry Callebaut’s sales volumes in fiscal 2013/14 were from a certified cocoa farmer or from one within its own sustainability program.

Does that mean 87% of cocoa was unverifiable and may have come from questionable labor practices?

“You don’t know that’s the case,”​ said Debenham. “You only know that’s not the case for the volumes that are [certified or part of a sustainability program].”

Cargill: Changing definitions

Speaking to ConfectioneryNews at the World Cocoa Foundation partnership meeting in October last year, Taco Terheijden, manager of sustainable cocoa at Cargill, said: “We will support customers in meeting their sustainability goals and while we do that we will do our own program that meets the criteria and standards as we define sustainability along the way.”

15-20% of Cargill’s cocoa supply falls under its Cocoa Promise program and comes from a certified farm (eg. UTZ, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance).

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) will introduce a joint standard for traceable and sustainable cocoa next year.  We asked why Cargill couldn’t set a target to ensure full compliance with the incoming standard or commit to 100% certified cocoa.

 “It’s very difficult to put a number out there whether it’s 100% or 80%. If you say we want 100% sustainable cocoa, all I know is that the definition of sustainability today is completely different to what it is in 2025,” ​said Terheijden.

Click HERE​ for ConfectioneryNews’ comment article on this topic.

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