Today, the majority of chocolate manufacturers buy their beans far down the supply chain. They might know where a small percentage of certified cocoa has come from, but they do not know where the bulk of their supply originates from. This supply chain opacity is hindering industry transformation. It is leaving farmers to grapple alone with daily economic, environmental and social challenges which prevent them from increasing their production and improving their livelihood.
Understanding where cocoa comes from
In order to bring lasting transformation, TFT thinks we should be close to the cocoa farmers, while working hand in hand with the market, such as companies like Cémoi or Lindt, chocolate makers and processors of cocoa beans. As for any other commodities TFT is working on, transparency is the key first step to understand from where the cocoa is coming. With companies such as Les Mousquetaires, who are very far from the cocoa fields, the work starts by calculating the footprint and engaging with major suppliers.
Engaging with cocoa farmers
Our work with Cémoi’s Transparence Cacao programme involves engaging in deep supply chain mapping work back to cocoa cooperatives in Ivory Coast and cocoa farmers. We get to know the cooperatives and farmers individually, we listen to them, to their daily challenges and coping strategies they might have developed already. Once the first phase of transparency achieved, it enables us to identify the transformation levers. We believe cocoa farmers are entrepreneurs who need to be supported technically and strategically, to allow them to innovate and achieve their own vision. Such a diagnosis allows the development of action plans for implementation of projects based on specific challenges encountered during the transparency phase. We are supporting the transformation journey of Lindt & Sprüngli’s cocoa Farming Program.
Through its Rurality initiative, TFT is taking part in a agroforestry-based initiative called Cacao Forest. Several chocolate manufacturers are partnering with a university (ISARA), the Foundation Terra Isara and well as the research center CIRAD; and now TFT, to coordinate the program and implement the socio-economic aspects of each project.
The programme aims at using agroforestry systems to offer an alternative cocoa culture, which respects the environment, improves farmers’ resilience and allows to provide better quality cocoa while increasing the volumes produced. It targets three main regions with several projects in each region, to begin with, the context of Dominican Republic is currently studied. Cacao Forest will then conceive with local producers and actors innovative cropping systems. These ideas will then be tested on pilot plots and the markets opportunities will be explored before being distributed to cocoa producers.
MembersMembers commit to long-lasting change in their supply chains, making far-reaching commitments to respect people and nature.
Where we workTFT is currently working in cocoa in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ecuador, Madagascar, Dominican Republic