Lindt & Sprüngli has reached an important milestone with its own Farming Program for a transparent and sustainable cocoa bean supply chain: 100% of cocoa beans are traceable back to the farmers and externally verified.
Sustainably sourced and high-quality cocoa beans are at the heart of Lindt & Sprüngli chocolates. With the 2020 harvest season, 100% of the cocoa beans are traceable back to the farmers and the Program is verified by an independent third party. Traceability is the prerequisite for a targeted improvement of the cultivation and living conditions of farmers in our own supply chain. Lindt & Sprüngli developed its own sustainability program for cocoa beans already in 2008, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. The initiative was launched in Ghana and is now established in all five countries from which Lindt & Sprüngli sources cocoa beans. The Program promotes the ecological and socially responsible cultivation of cocoa beans and supports farmers, their families, and their communities according to their specific needs. Local partners implement the Program with teams of dedicated local field staff.
Transparency from “bean-to-bar”
The “bean-to-bar” approach ensures supply chain transparency. As one of the few chocolate manufacturers, Lindt & Sprüngli takes on responsibility for every step in the production process. This begins with the purchase of beans from the own Farming Program, continues with the production of cocoa and chocolate masses in the own factories and ends with the final product.
The system of labelling is crucial for traceability. As soon as the beans are packed into transport bags and sold by the farmer, they receive a unique identification, e.g., in the form of a barcode. In this way, the beans can be assigned to the Farming Program and the participating farmers. Afterwards, the beans destined for Lindt & Sprüngli are always transported separately and physically segregated on their way to the factories. The model fulfils the highest degree of traceability, so-called “identity preserved”. The cocoa beans in Lindt & Sprüngli’s chocolates thus originate from the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program.
The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program is verified by an independent third party
The Farming Program activities have been verified by the non-profit organisation Earthworm Foundation since 2015. The organisation independently verifies the activities, processes, and effectiveness of the Farming Program on site at least once a year and supports Lindt & Sprüngli and the local implementation partners in developing action plans for further improvements.
A dedicated path to sustainable procurement
For sustainable sourcing, the company is going its own path with the Farming Program. The challenges in the countries where cocoa beans are grown range from the protection of human rights to income diversification and environmental protection.
For Dieter Weisskopf, CEO of the Lindt & Sprüngli Group, it is clear: “The challenges in the cocoa-growing countries for Lindt & Sprüngli, as well as for the entire chocolate industry, are very complex. It is therefore extremely important for us to address the issues in a targeted manner with our own Farming Program to directly achieve sustainable improvements. Reaching the interim goal of 100% traceable and verified cocoa beans is an important milestone for us. We will continue to pursue our path with great energy and continuously expand and improve the Program. It is clear – there is still a lot to do.”
Lindt & Sprüngli has said it will continue to work on sustainable sourcing strategies for other cocoa products such as cocoa butter, so that by 2025 all these will be sourced through sustainability programs.
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Editor, International Confectionery
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