Barry Callebaut, Tony’s Chocolonely and Albert Heijn form partnership for slave-free cocoa sourcing

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30 Nov 2018 --- A partnership involving Barry Callebaut, Dutch chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely and Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn is looking to raise the industry’s standards on cocoa sourcing, in favor of a more equally divided cocoa chain. This step aims to end child labor and modern slavery and seeks to help cocoa farmers with incomes that sustain them.

Tony’s Chocolonely has steadily been requesting that more companies follow its example for cocoa sourcing based on direct relations with cocoa cooperatives and traceable cocoa. Its platform Tony’s Open Chain offers information on how to achieve a transparent supply chain with tools like Tony’s Beantracker and the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System that has been implemented at all Tony’s Chocolonely partner cooperatives. 

Click to EnlargeFrom left to right: Antione de Saint-Affrique, Henk Jan van Belt, Henk van Harn Albert Heijn was the first to join Tony’s Open Chain and will source cocoa for its Delicata brand based on Tony’s Chocolonely five sourcing principles. Starting in March 2019, Delicata will be available across Albert Heijn stores, made exclusively from traceable cocoa, bought at a higher price from Tony’s Chocolonely partner cooperatives in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Swiss chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut is seeking to boost the partnership with its expertise in processing the segregated cocoa to chocolate.

“This partnership with Tony’s Chocolonely is part of all our sustainability efforts, from food waste reduction and packaging reduction to health initiatives and food chain transparency. Recently we made food chains transparent for eggs and orange juice, utilizing blockchain technology. We expect to take initiatives in more categories with a somewhat heightened risk as an integral part of our sustainability policy,” Ronald van der Aart of Albert Heijn tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“This is a giant step for the chocolate industry and an important move towards making sustainable chocolate the industry standard by 2025,” says Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut. “It’s an amazing opportunity to collaborate with both the biggest retailer in the Netherlands and a company as committed to its slave-free mission as Tony's Chocolonely, and we look forward to expanding this success story through our logistical expertise.”

“Together we can make more impact. I’m thrilled that Albert Heijn and Barry Callebaut are joining us on our road towards slave-free chocolate,” says Henk Jan Beltman, Chief Chocolate Officer with Tony’s Chocolonely. “We have always aimed to be exemplary and inspire others to act. Today our impact is bigger than our chocolate alone. We’re certain that this is just the first step on the journey to change the industry – together make chocolate 100 percent slave-free.” 

According to Tony's Chocolonely, extreme poverty is the main cause of lasting social issues in the cocoa industry. These issues will only be resolved when companies go beyond certifications and are willing to pay a higher price than the certification premium, says the company.

“We expect, invite and would love to welcome more companies to follow in the coming months. Only together we can make an impact to change the industry and make the cocoa supply chain fully sustainable,” adds van der Aart.

Barry Callebaut recently expanded its presence in Russia, the world’s second largest chocolate confectionery market, after signing a new agreement to acquire Inforum, a Russian B2B producer of chocolate, coatings, and fillings, serving many of the well-known consumer chocolate brands in the federation. Moreover, it extended earlier this month its supply partnership with GarudaFood in Indonesia after signing a long-term agreement for the supply of an additional 7,000 tons of compound chocolate per year to GarudaFood’s biscuit factory. 

Sustainability in the chocolate industry is also important to Cargill. The volume of sustainable cocoa sourced by Cargill has doubled since the company first established its own licensed buying company (LBC) model with an estimated 13,000 cocoa farmers benefiting from the initiative. This is a 30 percent increase from the 10,000 farmers from last year and demonstrates how direct sourcing puts cocoa farmers at the heart of Cargill’s cocoa business.

By Kristiana Lalou

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