Barry Callebaut, Nestlé & Proforest to spearhead sustainability in the coconut industry

Barry Callebaut, Nestlé & Proforest to spearhead sustainability in the coconut industry
Barry Callebaut, Nestlé & Proforest to spearhead sustainability in the coconut industry
Photo - moho01 from Pixabay

In September 2020, Barry Callebaut launched the coconut charter to work on sustainable coconut production. This was a promising start. Together with Nestlé and Proforest, the company is taking the next big step by launching a scorecard to define and develop the previously underestimated issue of sustainable practices in coconut production.

At Barry Callebaut, the mission is to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. As part of its Forever Chocolate plan, the company commits to all ingredients into its chocolate. This means taking into account the sustainability of every aspect of its supply chain, including coconuts. Coconut is a key ingredient in many of Barry Callebaut’s products, so the company decided to develop a coconut sustainability framework to drive change in this industry.

The sustainability challenges in coconut production

In recent years, the global coconut market has rapidly grown, paired with significant and yet untackled sustainability challenges. These include aging trees, natural disasters, complex value chains and producers lacking in market, finance and technical know-how. Despite a growing market, the result has been low-quality produce, low income for producers, and little incentive to improve practices across the board.

A scorecard for success

Building on Barry Callebaut’s work to improve traceability within its coconut supply chain, it joined forces with Nestlé and Proforest in 2020 to launch the Sustainable Coconut Supplier Scorecard and Sustainable Origins Assessment.

Barry Callebaut, Nestlé & Proforest to spearhead sustainability in the coconut industry
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Madeleine Eilert, Sustainable Sourcing lead for Coconut at Nestlé, said, “We are dedicated to achieving transparency and traceability in our supply chains, including in sourcing coconut as a raw material for our products. The supplier scorecard and origins assessment we are developing together with Barry Callebaut will enable us to fully understand current and future challenges in sourcing this raw material and to address gaps in sustainable coconut production. This set of tools will also be beneficial in creating an alignment among companies and defining a common framework to drive changes in the industry.”

The sustainable coconut supplier scorecard and sustainable origins assessment will allow them to assess sustainability risks at the sourcing locations or origin countries of its coconut supply chain, set clear improvement targets and track performance over time. It will also help them enhance traceability by mapping out supply chain actors and introducing a tangible incentive for suppliers and coconut origins to improve. By 2022, they intend to roll out this assessment with all of Barry Callebaut’s coconut oil suppliers, in addition to its annual traceability assessment.

More broadly, Barry Callebaut is inviting organizations active in the coconut industry to join them in signing the Sustainable Coconut Charter, thus transforming the ongoing development of sustainable practices in the coconut industry into a global movement.

The sustainable coconut charter – A promising start

To address sustainability challenges in coconut production, they collaborated with USAID Green Invest Asia and industry and launched in November 2020 the Sustainable Coconut Charter, co-signed by industry leaders AAK, FrieslandCampina, Harmless Harvest, Nestlé and Unilever.

Oliver von Hagen, director of Sustainability Global Ingredients at Barry Callebaut Group, said, “The Sustainable Coconut Charter is a first of its kind voluntary framework for companies in the coconut industry. It represents a collective commitment and a harmonized approach to making a difference to the planet, people and business.”

Since the Sustainable Coconut Charter launch, Barry Callebaut mentioned that it has witnessed significant momentum with over 40 companies, NGOs, and other stakeholders expressing interest in aligning their approach toward sustainable coconut production.

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