Xocolady has close ties with Ghana and Ivory Coast. A major percentage of the cocoa that is used to make Xocolady chocolate comes from the country in West Africa. Local farmers have grown the sought-after fruit for generations.
For years, Lindt & Sprüngli has been dealing with the issue of how the best cocoa can be preserved and how the farmers’ quality of life can be improved. A milestone was reached in 2008:
Lindt & Sprüngli launched a pioneering project that marked the starting point for the present Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. With its Farming Program, Lindt & Sprüngli is committed to improving the challenging living and working conditions of the farmers in Ghana and in all the countries the Program has been introduced.
Since then, work has been ongoing to organise the procurement of cocoa in a responsible manner. This is done in four stages:
1) The first stage is traceability and farmer organization: Traceability means that it is known where our purchased cocoa beans come from. Based on codes on the sacks, the cocoa can be traced to the farmers who grew and supplied the beans. This forms the basis for strengthening the farmers’ situation: If Lindt & Sprüngli and its partners know the farmers locally, they can foster improved conditions in a more targeted manner.
2) The second stage is training, knowledge transfer and internal monitoring: Through supporting measures, the cocoa farmers can constantly improve the farming and the further processing of the cocoa up to delivery. So that social and ecological topics take root in the farmers’ mind in the long term, we are putting our faith in so-called farmer field schools: The farmers are sensitised to topics such as child labour, occupational safety and ecology. At the same time, they acquire the necessary agricultural knowledge to increase their yield. Through the systematic analysis of the information from the specially developed internal monitoring system, improvements with regard to agricultural, social and ecological practices can be measured.
3) The third pillar consists of farmer investments and community development: Lindt & Sprüngli invests in farmer, as well as community development. Farmers get, for example, access to inputs and new plants. Community development is fostered by supporting the local infrastructure, for example with boreholes for access to clean drinking water or malaria nets to improve health.
4) The forth pillar is verification and continuous progress: The system and the practices of the farmers are reviewed by independent and renowned auditors. This gives customers the certainty that Lindt & Sprüngli is continually working on improving the practices of the cocoa farmers.
These four stages form a solid basis for the responsible procurement of cocoa and are the basic pillars of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. Everyone benefits from it: The farmers can increase their harvest and thus their income in the long term, and high-quality cocoa beans are available for LINDT chocolate. The environment also benefits: As the farmers are trained on environmental farming practices, the burdens on the soil, air, water, and animals are reduced. Customers and consumers can trust in Lindt & Sprüngli taking the topic of sustainability very seriously and in the social conditions for the individual farmers and in the villages being improved on a continuous basis.
FOCUS ON GHANA
Ivory Coast and Ghana are two of the world’s most important countries for the production of cocoa. More than half of the world’s harvest comes from these two West African countries. Because the conditions for responsible and high-quality procurement are better in Ghana than in Ivory Coast, only cocoa beans from Ghana have been used for Xocolady chocolate since 2005. The quality of the beans is higher there and the risk of child labour lower because the cocoa market in Ghana has been strictly regulated for years. The state-regulated minimum price paid for cocoa gives them greater security and a stable income. For all these reasons Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program was initially developed in Ghana 2008 and then, from 2014 onwards, introduced to other countries where Lindt & Sprüngli source cocoa from.
In order to develop such specific projectsfor the farmers and to improve their living conditions, we pay a voluntary premium per tonne of cocoa purchased for Xocolady chocolate. This premium is used locally in projects to improve the living and working conditions. Projects for the education and further training of the farmers are particularly important here.
The cocoa tree is a sensitive tree that has to be nurtured and cared for a lot by manual work – only then does it produce high-grade cocoa beans that can be processed into excellent Xocolady chocolate.
A lot of know-how is required to plant the trees correctly, harvest their fruits at the right time and carry out the first processing steps. Our local partners therefore work together with the farmers in ensuring the quality. For this purpose, the farmers are trained in good agricultural practice. They can thus work in a more cost-effective manner, improve the quality and increase the yield from their land. In addition, great importance is attached in the training courses to topics such as occupational safety, fair working conditions and environmental behaviour.
CLEAN DRINKING WATER AND ACCESS TO EDUCATION
But it is not enough to just invest in the education and training of the cocoa farmers. It is also important that work is done on improving the living conditions and infrastructure. For instance, access to clean drinking water or to schooling is frequently only inadequate and tropical diseases such as malaria are widespread. Many projects that are implemented by Lindt & Sprüngli with a local partner aim to tackle these challenges: Assistance in the form of handing out thousands of mosquito nets and building wells helps to safeguard the villagers’ health. Since 2008, a school that was destroyed has also been rebuilt and modernised. Other new small training centres – so-called Village Resource Centers – have been built. They offer the cocoa farmers access to training and the local school children an opportunity to use computers, the Internet and modern communication technologies.
EXPANDING THE SUCCESS MODEL
The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, which developed out of the Ghana project in 2008, is a tailor made program for responsible and sustainable cocoa sourcing, with a focus on continuous progress and concrete activities to support improvements in the field. Because the model is a convincing one, the program has been expanded to other cocoa origins such as Ecuador, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and the Dominican Republic and it will cover our entire cocoa supply by 2020.