Swiss premium chocolate company Lindt & Sprüngli has reached an important sustainability milestone by shifting production to 100% traceable and externally verified cocoa beans.
In the 2020 harvest season, 100% of Lindt & Sprüngli’s cocoa beans were traceable back to the farmers of its Farming Programme and verified by an independent third party. The milestone reinforces the company’s commitment to enhanced traceability and to elevating the living conditions of farmers across its supply chain.
Commenting on how Lindt & Sprüngli is overcoming the challenges of adopting more sustainable and traceable supply chain practices, CEO Dieter Weisskopf said: “The challenges in 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 Programme 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 programme. It is clear — there is still a lot to do.”
Lindt & Sprüngli’s sustainable Farming Programme was launched in 2008. Initially rolled out in Ghana, the programme is now established in all the five countries where Lindt & Sprüngli sources its cocoa beans.
The programme seeks to promote the environmentally-conscious and ethically-responsible cultivation of cocoa beans. It also aims to support farmers, their families, and communities through training, education and community development.
The programme is financed by a price premium per ton of cocoa and additional contributions from the non-profit Lindt Cocoa Foundation. In 2020, US$12 million was invested in the programme.
In addition, Lindt & Sprüngli has pledged to source all other cocoa products, including cocoa butter, through sustainability programmes by 2025.
The Farming Programme implements concrete methods to improve the farming practices and livelihoods of cocoa farmers. It is achieved through four pillars
1. Traceability and farmer organisation
Lindt & Sprüngli’s from ‘bean-to-bar’ approach ensures total supply chain transparency. This starts from the purchase of cocoa beans through its sustainable Farming Programme, to the chocolate production process and finished chocolate bar products.
The company’s labelling system is crucial to its traceability mission. As soon as the cocoa beans are packed and transported, they receive a unique barcode identification, so they can be assigned to participating farmers in the programme.
Afterwards, the beans are physically segregated and transported separately to their respective factories, ensuring maximum traceability across the supply chain. Since 2015, the Farming Programme has been verified by the Earthworm Foundation which independently assesses its activities, processes and efficacy.