We at Fazer have the chance to work with one of the finest ingredients in the world – cocoa. Since it is important for us to ensure the availability of this ingredient now and in the future, we are actively engaged in work to improve the responsibility and traceability of cocoa.

We purchase cocoa from farmers who belong to direct programmes as well as certified cocoa through carefully selected and audited suppliers.

The cocoa is purchased from suppliers in processed form, such as cocoa mass, cocoa powder and cocoa butter, from which we manufacture chocolate.

A quarter of the cocoa we buy comes from Ecuador, while the other three quarters comes from West Africa. Given that Ecuadorian cocoa mass is the most important factor contributing to the taste of our biggest chocolate product, Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate, sourcing high-quality cocoa is vital for the production of our beloved chocolate.

cocoa beans picture

The origin of cocoa matters

Together with all of the operators in our industry, we are working to make our value chain increasingly responsible and transparent. Our tools in this are direct farmer programmes in Nigeria and Ecuador as well as certification systems. The certification systems we currently use are UTZ, the Rainforest Alliance and the Fairtrade Cocoa Program.

By 2017, we will be able to trace the origin of all the cocoa we use, and our cocoa supply chain will meet the criteria for responsible production. 

Fazer is increasing the purchase volumes of raw material that fulfils the criteria for responsible cocoa sourcing by 10 to 15 per cent a year. In 2016, we estimate that 85 per cent of our cocoa will be sourced in accordance with the cocoa sourcing programme. By 2017, we will be able to trace the origin of all the cocoa we use, and our cocoa supply chain will meet the criteria for responsible production.

You can follow the progress of this programme here

The principles of responsible cocoa

The starting points for Fazer's responsible cocoa sourcing are the development of traceability and the three principles of the World Cocoa Foundation: people, profit and the planet.

  • The criteria for the well-being of people include honouring the International Labour Standards.
  • Profit means, among other things, improving farmers' income and developing the quality and yield of cocoa crops.
  • Taking care of the planet refers, among other things, to educating farmers on the use of fertilizers and on the environmental impact of farming.

Through the direct programmes, we can trace the cocoa we use at Fazer's chocolate factory in Vantaa all the way to individual farms and farmers. This allows to know where the cocoa beans used in the cocoa products we purchase come from and provides us with a chance to support precisely those farmers from whom our cocoa comes.

Real impact on farming communities through direct programmes

There are approximately five million cocoa farms in the world. Cocoa farms are usually family farms a few hectares in size and are farmed by the same family from one generation to the next. Up to 70 per cent of these farms are in West Africa, where cocoa farmers face a myriad of challenges. Only a fifth of all cocoa farmers are currently certified farmers. Up to four-fifths of farmers do not belong to any certification system, and they can be precisely those farmers who need support to advance responsible cocoa growing. Through direct farmer programmes, we want to support precisely those farmers who are most in need of help.

Our cooperation with operators in the countries of origin and support for farming communities through direct sustainability programmes allows us to get closer to the farmers and farming communities themselves.

Training cocoa farmers plays a decisive role

The direct programmes aim to make cocoa farming increasingly rewarding work that offers farmers and their families a path to a better income. Because a better income is based on crops with a higher yield, the programmes focus on training and education. When farmers learn modern cultivation practices, they can improve the productivity of their cocoa plantations. The farmers involved in the programmes are also offered an opportunity for better cacao tree seedlings and fertilizers. This provides the farmers with an opportunity to develop their own business and thereby the level of their income.

In Nigeria, the farming communities that participate in the programmes also have people responsible for and trained to prevent child labour. It is important to ensure that the children of farming families go to school.

As part of the programmes, the farming communities also engage in projects to develop their infrastructure, aiming to generate effects that benefit the entire farming community. The targets (such as digging wells or expanding schools) are selected in cooperation with the community in question. The farming communities are also supported by providing them with useful materials and equipment related to farming and good practices, such as protective equipment and fertilizers.

Find out more about the programmes in Nigeria and Ecuador.

Towards more responsible cocoa production with international cooperation

No government, company or organisation can solve the challenges, for example, in the cocoa farms of West Africa by themselves. What is needed instead is broad-based international cooperation.

Fazer is currently cooperating with various suppliers to improve the traceability of cocoa, particularly in West Africa. We are also actively involved in cooperation that aims to create a common European standard for traceability and sustainability (CEN).

Fazer has also been a member of the World Cocoa Foundation (WFC) – founded in 2000 and aiming to sustainable cocoa production – since 2005. Through the WCF, Fazer supports a village called Biéby in Côte d’Ivoire.