Lindt & Sprüngli achieves sustainability milestone for its farming program

By Andrew Pentol |

Traceability is a prerequisite for a targeted improvement of the cultivation and living conditions of farmers in its own supply chain, according to Lindt & Sprüngli.

Lindt & Sprüngli has revealed that 100% of its coca beans are traceable back to farmers and externally verified in what the company described as an important milestone for its farming program.

Sustainably sourced and high-quality cocoa beans are at the heart of Lindt & Sprüngli’s chocolates, according to the brand.

One hundred percent of the cocoa beans are traceable back to the farmers and the program is verified by an independent third party.

Lindt says that traceability is a prerequisite for a targeted improvement of the cultivation and living conditions of farmers in its own supply chain.

Developed in 2008, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program was launched in Ghana and is now established in the five countries from which Lindt & Sprüngli sources cocoa beans.

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE CULTIVATION

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.

The “bean-to-bar” approach ensures supply chain transparency. Lindt & Sprüngli is responsible for the entire production process..

This begins with purchasing beans from their own Farming Program, continues with the production of cocoa and chocolate masses in its own factories and ends with the final product.

The labelling system is crucial for traceability. As soon as the beans are packed into transport bags and sold by the farmer, they are identified in the form of a barcode.

This enables the beans to be assigned to the Farming Program and participating farmers.

Beans destined for Lindt & Sprüngli are then always transported separately and physically segregated on their way to the factories. The cocoa beans in Lindt & Sprüngli’s chocolates, therefore, originate from the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program.

Verified by an independent third party, Farming Program activities have been verified by the Earthworm Foundation — a non-profit organisation —  since 2015.

The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program was developed in 2008 and launched in Ghana.

The organisation independently verifies the activities, processes and effectiveness of the Farming Program on site at least once a year. It also supports Lindt & Sprüngli and its local implementation partners in developing action plans for further improvements.

In terms of sustainable sourcing, Lindt & Sprüngli is on 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.

Dieter Weisskopf, CEO of the Lindt & Sprüngli Group said: “The challenges in the cocoa-growing countries for Lindt & Sprüngli, as well as for the entire chocolate industry are very complex.

Protection of human rights and income diversification are among the challenges in the countries cocoa beans are grown.

“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 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 the improve the program. It is clear that there is still a lot to do.”

SUSTAINABLE SOURCING STRATEGIES

Lindt & Sprüngli continues working on sustainable sourcing strategies for other cocoa products such as cocoa butter, so that by 2025 all these will be sourced by sustainability programmes.”

The Farming Program aims to improve the farming practices and livelihoods of cocoa farmers, their families and communities in the long-term.

Concrete measures include training in good agricultural, environmental and social practices, creating opportunities for income diversification, raising awareness about child labour and fostering the education of children, protecting natural ecosystems and developing infrastructure.

The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program aims to improve the farming practices and livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

All this can be achieved through the four pillars of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. These are traceability and farmer organisation, training and knowledge transfer, farmer investment and community development and verification and continuous progress (internal control system and external evaluation).

Financed by a price per ton of cocoa and additional contributions from the non-profit Lindt Cocoa Foundation, around US$12 million was invested into the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program in 2020.

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