22 Sep 2020 — Olam Cocoa has achieved 100 percent traceability of directly sourced cocoa across its global supply chain, a commitment first started five years ago. The company can now track approximately 12 percent of the world’s cocoa beans back to an individual farm or community.
This breakthrough is the first significant milestone for Cocoa Compass, Olam Cocoa’s sustainability ambition for the future of cocoa. In a progress update recently published, the company confirmed it is “on track” to meet its targets.
These include a commitment to achieving 100 percent deforestation and child labor monitoring across all managed sustainability programs worldwide in its direct supply chain by the end of 2020.
A “crucial” step to eradicating child labor
“Today’s milestone is, therefore, a crucial step toward unlocking the answers to eradicating child labor and deforestation,” Andrew Brooks, head of sustainability at Olam Cocoa, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“Our vision for an environmentally positive, professionalized cocoa supply chain is where farmers are earning a living income, child labor is eliminated, and the natural world is protected,” he adds.
Olam Cocoa developed an end-to-end traceability system that tracks the cocoa at every stage in the direct supply chain across nine countries.
By collecting data such as farm and community metrics, cocoa bean purchasing and transportation information, as well as details on the facility where the cocoa was processed, it can provide transparency for customers and allow sustainability programs to be tailored to farmers’ specific needs.
“It also gives our customers unprecedented transparency of where their cocoa comes from and how it makes its way to them. That means that our customers, and their consumers, can be sure their cocoa has been produced in a way that supports the most vulnerable people and environments in the supply chain.”
This builds on insights from existing tools, namely the Olam & Farmer Information System (OFIS), which feeds through Olam’s sustainability insights platform, AtSource.
A dashboard shows where the cocoa beans come from and the social and environmental impact from source to the manufacturer.
Cocoa traceability has been a significant challenge for industry due to fragmented farming systems and lack of infrastructure in many cocoa-growing areas.
“To deliver on our commitments, we require an unprecedented level of granular data and on the ground expertise to effectively monitor our supply chain and act on issues such as child labor and deforestation,” says Gerard Manley, CEO of Olam Cocoa.
A combination of Olam Cocoa’s origination infrastructure and the processes the company has developed over the past 25 years, combined with the rapid increase in mobile and internet capability, means that its field teams can now collect, transmit and analyze reliable and consistent data in even the most remote locations.
“This is supported by the latest technology, such as real-time satellite mapping systems that penetrate cloud cover,” notes Manley.
“Not only does this give our customers unprecedented visibility of where their cocoa comes from and how it makes its way to them; achieving 100 percent direct source traceability is a significant step toward our longer-term ambition of a professionalized and quality-focused cocoa supply chain.
By Elizabeth Green
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