We partly purchase cocoa from farmers who belong to direct programmes, partly 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 come 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.
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. The tools we employ 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.
Since 2017 all our cocoa is traceable and meets 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. Since 2017 all our cocoa is traceable and meets the criteria for responsible production. This means that all of the cocoa we purchase is certified or comes from farmers who belong to our direct programmes.
The principles of responsible cocoa
The starting points for Fazer's responsible cocoa sourcing are the development of traceability and the three principles: 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 the farmers' incomes and developing the quality and yield of the 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 down to individual farms and farmers. This allows to know where the cocoa beans used in the cocoa products we purchase come from, and 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 located in West Africa, where cocoa farmers face a myriad of challenges. Only one fifth of all cocoa farmers are currently certified farmers. Up to four-fifths of farmers do not belong to any certification systems, and it can be exactly these farmers who need support to advance responsible cocoa growing. Through direct farmer programmes, we want to support precisely those farmers who need help the most.
Our cooperation with operators in the countries of origin and out support to farming communities through direct sustainability programmes allow us to form a closer bond with the farmers and farming communities.
Training cocoa farmers plays a decisive role
The direct programmes aim to make cocoa farming increasingly rewarding work that would offer the farmers and their families a path to better incomes. 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 farms. The farmers involved in the programmes are also offered an opportunity to get better cacao tree seedlings and fertilizers. This provides the farmers with a chance to develop their own businesses and, thereby, the level of their incomes.
In Nigeria, the farming communities that participate in the programmes also have people who are 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.
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.