Ferrero sets out cocoa charter and action plan supporting farming communities

A key policy move has been unveiled by Ferrero, as it sets out its Cocoa Charter and Cocoa Action Plan, reaffirming its ambition to help deliver an environmentally and socially responsible sector, writes Neill Barston.

According to the company, its proposals underscore its longstanding support for income generation for farmers, protecting children and developing communities, and promoting sustainable agroforestry.

Ferrero began its efforts towards responsibly sourced cocoa in 2005, by joining the World Cocoa Foundation and subsequently the International Cocoa Initiative, with the business now sourcing its cocoa from 100% sustainably sourced via independently managed standards such as Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and others.

As the company is sourcing cocoa almost entirely from known farmer groups, it is also performing very strongly on both traceability and supply chain visibility. Already today, Ferrero’s cocoa supply chain is 96% traceable to farm level.

In publishing the Cocoa Charter, Ferrero recognises that the cocoa supply chain’s issues are complex and must be addressed through partnership with farmers, industry, communities, NGOs and governments. The ambitions outlined in the charter are grouped under four pillars:

  • Sustainable Livelihoods: provide targeted support to farmers to improve productivity and diversify income
  • Human Rights and Social Practices: protect the rights of children in cocoa growing communities
  • Environmental Protection: supporting farmers to convert to agroforesty systems
  • Transparency: supply-chain traceability, risk assessments and progress disclosure

Ferrero’s Cocoa Action Plan outlines how the company will work towards these ambitions. Initiatives already in place include:

  • Farm Development Plans and Income-Generating Activities, paying a cash premium to farmers on top of the commercial price, to support cocoa farmers to prosper
  • Partnerships to implement Child Protection Systems and Community Development Plans to address child labour
  • Working with the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) to end deforestation in the cocoa sector and promote sustainable agroforestry
  • Strengthening supplier partnerships and building a platform that gives visibility over Ferrero’s entire supply chain

Each year a report will be published on the progress made against the Action Plan. The first progress report is expected to be published in Q2 2022.

Marco Gonçalves, chief procurement & hazelnut company officer, said: “The Cocoa Charter and Action Plan underline Ferrero’s ambition to be a driving force behind a cocoa sector where cocoa production creates value for people and the environment. Through our distinct sourcing approach, we know the farmers and communities we source from, and this enables us to support them in a targeted way. We are now strengthening our activities to bring about lasting change for the sector.”

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