Using sustainability to uplift a community
The Barry Callebaut Group in India has undertaken several initiatives to help the Indian farmers overcome the drought crisis and uplift their livelihoods.
Barry Callebaut is a company with a purpose. The business re-invests its resources into the communities in which it operates through innovate and diverse ways. It engages with cocoa-farming communities, empowering them with education, knowledge, and access to finance.
About half of the dividend we pay goes to the Jacobs Foundation via our major shareholder, Jacobs Holding, which provides developmental opportunities to the young.
A leader in sustainability
Five years ago, Barry Callebaut launched Forever Chocolate, to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025. Through measurable, time-bound targets, in combination with third-party verified annual reporting, Forever Chocolate is sincere about creating impact in the chocolate value chain.
The Forever Chocolate is based on four ambitious targets, to be achieved by 2025, that address the largest sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain:
- More than 500,000 cocoa farmers will have been lifted out of poverty.
- Eradicate child labour from our supply chain.
- Become carbon and forest positive.
- Have 100 per cent sustainable ingredients in all our products.
These targets are daunting, yet demanding, but as the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, we are confident of achieving these targets and becoming the leader in sustainability. We want to start a movement, which involves farmers, civil society, industry, and governments to make sure chocolate stays around forever.
Forever Chocolate is considered the Number 1 sustainability strategy in the packaged foods industry, based on the Sustainalytics’ 2019 sustainability ranking, which assesses 178 packaged food companies on the management of environmental, social and governance risks in their supply chains.
Taking our sustainability efforts local
Even in non-cocoa producing communities, sustainability remains close to our hearts.
For example, one of the local teams of Barry Callebaut India has partnered with Jarawadi, a rural district of Maharashtra to tackle the drought situation in the region. For over two years, the D’Orsogna team contributed to the village located 15 kilometers away from our D’Orsogna factory in Baramati.
Jarawadi is a drought-prone area, yet many farmers depend solely on rain for their crop to thrive. In addition to extreme economic loss, droughts can end up taking a toll on farmers’ physical and mental health and affect the social fabric of communities by creating conflicts.
Therefore, to help ensure environmental sustainability, we started several drought management initiatives like tree plantations. Since 2019, we planted 100 trees in the region. Each tree is built with a tree guard, as well as a drip irrigation system to irrigate all the new trees.
Trees are highly effective in combating drought as they pack soil together, and their water-seeking roots tap into groundwater, bringing it to the surface so it can be shared with crops. Drip irrigation brings water directly to crops, preventing water wastage.
We also tied up with a local NGO, Paani Foundation, to tackle the problem caused by drought. In regular efforts, our local teams volunteered to dig ditches to utilise rainwater effectively in the village community.
In addition, we have also contributed 20 solar-powered streetlights, a reverse osmosis plant that purifies water, and toilets to schools in the region.
Do well by doing good
Sustainability has been at the heart of Barry Callebaut since its inception. In India, we are helping farmers overcome the problems of drought and trying to uplift their livelihoods with the hope of long-term societal impact, a similar initiative undertaken for the cocoa farmers under our Forever Chocolate strategy. At Barry Callebaut we are committed to doing good for the communities we work with, and we see sustainability as the best way to do that.
Dhruva Jyoti Sanyal is the Managing Director of Barry Callebaut India.