Fair cocoa from Ivory Coast for Boni
Boni chocolate now tastes even more of fair trade. Together with external partners, we have set up a more efficient chain with more respect for people and nature in Ivory Coast. This chain project is a first concrete step in the realisation of the 'Beyond Chocolate' sector agreement that wants to improve the quality and sustainability of Belgian chocolate. In other words, farmers receive a better income, people plant trees and children go to school. As a result, our customers can count not only on the best quality, but on a fair product as well.
Efforts to make chocolate more sustainable
Colruyt has been using sustainable cocoa for a while now: almost all our private label products containing chocolate have the UTZ sustainability label. In Nicaragua, we buy cocoa directly from the farmers. It enables us to guarantee an environment-friendly production, a good price and a certain market for young farmers.
With the new project in Ivory Coast, we accept the challenge to set up a sustainable cocoa production in Africa. This chain project is a first concrete step in the realisation of the 'Beyond Chocolate' sector agreement that wants to improve the quality and sustainability of Belgian chocolate. By 2025, all Belgian chocolate should comply with a recognized certification standard. By 2030, we have another objective: guaranteeing the cocoa farmers a living income.
'Living Income' project
Ivory Coast represents 40% of worldwide cocoa production, but cocoa farmers earn an income that is far below the poverty line.
Mieke Vercaeren, who is responsible for making our private labels more sustainable, travelled to Ivory Coast to explore the situation: "In big cities, the economy is in top gear, but in the country time has stopped. There is no water or electricity. There are barely any schools in the area. We want to contribute to improving the living conditions. It is therefore important to work together with all parties and to coordinate all good initiatives that already exist. The proceeds of this efficiency gain must go to the farmers."
For a period of 3 years as from June 2020, we invest in a sustainable cocoa chain for our private Boni label. Our group started with an annual purchase of 100 tonnes of cocoa for which we pay a living income reference price. On top of the market price, we pay a living income differential, a fairtrade and quality bonus and a chocolate bonus. Most of this supplement will go directly to the farmer. Part of it will go to cooperative societies and authorities to enable them to make the necessary investments as well.
A better income for cocoa farmers also reduces the risk of child labour. Accompanying measures such as the diversification of (agricultural) activities and reforestation (the project provides for the reforestation of 1,000 hectares of land, with 80,000 shade trees) provide a more sustainable basis for cocoa production. We will use the insights gained from this project to gradually make the entire Colruyt Group chocolate range more sustainable.
In cooperation with partners
Cooperation throughout the chain is a condition for lasting success. For this reason, we implement this project in cooperation with our Belgian and local partners: the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, producer Puratos, development organisation Rikolto, certification organisation Fairtrade, the University of Ghent, Ivory Coast cooperative ECSP and training centres Agro-Insight and Access Agriculture. The total investment over 3 years amounts to 525,000 euros, 150,000 euros of which come from Colruyt Group.
The first new Boni chocolate tablet from this project is on the shelves in our stores from November 2021.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.