Nestle has become the first major chocolate manufacturer in Australia to source all the cocoa for its retail confectionery business from UTZ certified farms. This ensures the cocoa is sourced and produced sustainably on farms with safe working conditions.
More than 3,000 tonnes of UTZ Certified cocoa is now being used to produce iconic favourites such as Kit Kat, Smarties and Club chocolate.
Martin Brown, Nestlé Australia business executive manager confectionery and snacks, said the Nestlé Cocoa Plan is helping farmers to run profitable farms, eliminate the use of child labour and ensure a sustainable supply of cocoa.
“Our work with West African cocoa farmers is helping to address the issues facing the farmers and their communities, while giving Australian consumers the confidence that the cocoa in them has been produced sustainably,” Brown said.
“It’s difficult to guarantee a sustainable supply of cocoa in the quantities we need in the challenging environment that exists in the Côte d’Ivoire. But the Nestlé Cocoa Plan is starting to make significant progress in these areas which ultimately improves the social and economic conditions of farmers and their families.”
The Nestlé Research and Development Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, which is the country that supplies Nestlé with the bulk of its cocoa, has been central to the Cocoa Plan, breeding high yield disease resistant plants and working alongside farmers to improve their practices.
Dr Serigne Diop, head of R&D at the centre, visited Australia this week and said that almost all cocoa farmers have small landholdings with ageing trees, and as a result, have seen productivity of their farms diminish.
“We believe you cannot have a socially sustainable business if your farmers, your suppliers, are not being paid a fair price and cannot see a future for themselves as farmers,” Diop said.
The Nestlé Cocoa Plan was launched in 2009 and addresses the key issues facing the cocoa industry and Nestlé is working with farmers and partner organisations to build programs that offer long term solutions from an economic, social and environmental perspective.
The Nestlé Cocoa Plan is:
- Supplying farmers with 12 million higher yielding, disease-resistant cocoa trees to replace ageing unproductive trees by 2019.
- Training farmers on efficient farming methods and responsible work practices through farmer field schools and field demonstrations. Around 27,000 farmers were trained last year.
- Paying farmers a premium for sustainably produced cocoa.
- Working with NGOs and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to stamp out forced labour practices in the cocoa industry.
- Working with the World Cocoa Foundation to build or refurbish 40 schools to improve educational opportunities.
Consumers will be able to choose the sustainable bars by looking for the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and UTZ Certified symbol on-pack.