Global cocoa and chocolate products leader Barry Callebaut has pledged to use sustainable coconut oil as part of its Forever Chocolate commitment for 100% sustainable ingredients by 2025.
“Coconut oil is an important ingredient for our customers, used in many ice cream applications and confectionery fillings,” Barry Callebaut said on 2 April, a month after the company and the US Agency for International Development organised a roundtable on sustainable coconut and coconut oil.
“Sourced primarily from regions throughout the Philippines and Indonesia, the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of small coconut producers is a priority for Barry Callebaut. We believe that working with these farmers is the only way that the industry will face its most pressing challenges of replanting trees and ensuring traceable and high quality coconut oil.
“It is estimated that around 50% of the world’s coconut trees are beyond their most productive years. Combine this with falling prices, coconut farmers face a cycle of stagnating yield, low income and an inability to invest in their farms.”
With over 80 representatives, the roundtable meeting was attended by companies representing over 50% of the global coconut oil supply and included some of the largest buyers and processors in the sector, Barry Callebaut said.
The meeting showcased initiatives to address sustainable sourcing, transparency and investment challenges in the Philippines and Indonesia, the world’s largest producers of coconut oil with 95% of global coconut harvested by smallholder farmers.
“These initiatives aim to test the effectiveness of replanting projects and productivity schemes, such as intercropping with cocoa, seedling distribution initiatives and farmer financing programmes,” the Swiss company said.
The forum also agreed to meet annually and form a task force to facilitate coordination among industry players, create complementary sustainability programmes and share best practices.
In separate news, Barry Callebaut announced that it had inaugurated a new cocoa grinding unit in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire on 29 March as part of a CHF55M (US$55M) investment that would increase its cocoa bean processing capacity by more than 40% in the country.
Barry Callebaut said its two most important cocoa grinding facilities, which produced cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and powder, were both based in Côte d'Ivoire at Abidjan and San-Pédro.
Zurich-based Barry Callebaut reported annual sales of approximately CHF6.9bn (US$7.1bn) in fiscal year 2017/18 and operates some 60 production facilities worldwide.