Quality at Heart: Our approach to sourcing cocoa

Quality at Heart: Our approach to sourcing cocoa

At Ferrero, 100% of our cocoa is sourced through independently managed standards such as Rainforest Alliance, Cocoa Horizons, Fairtrade Foundation and others and our cocoa beans are traceable to farms. Cocoa is a fundamental ingredient in our products, and we’re committed to actively contributing to a responsible cocoa supply chain.

What is cocoa?

Whether you like your chocolate rich and bittersweet or smooth and milky, it always contains one key ingredient: cocoa.

• Cocoa is produced in the tropical zones of Africa, South America and Asia by four to five million smallholder farmers. The cocoa we use mainly comes from West Africa and Ecuador, and it passes the same quality requirements that we apply to all our raw materials.

Cocoa is derived from cocoa pods, which grow on cacao trees. Every pod contains dozens of large seeds, and when these are put through a special fermenting and drying process, they become cocoa beans.

The cocoa beans we buy meet specific quality requirements, often surpassing industry standards. When they are delivered to our manufacturing plants, they must pass meticulous quality checks before being accepted and used in our products.

We expertly blend our cocoa with other ingredients, such as milk, to create our iconic Ferrero Rocher, Nutella and Kinder ranges. These products are then shipped on to 170 countries worldwide for our consumers to enjoy.

As with other crops, cocoa harvests differ from year to year, which affects the quality. That’s why our expert sourcing team is constantly researching and adapting the blend of cocoa beans we use to guarantee the consistent quality and flavour that differentiates our products.

Our approach to ethical and responsible sourcing of cocoa

We’re committed to ethical and responsible sourcing, throughout our supply chain across all our key ingredients, including cocoa.

As part of our Ferrero Farming Values programme, we are committed to supporting and improving cocoa farming sustainability to have a positive and lasting impact on the cocoa value-chain. It is crucial that we deliver on our promise to consumers to provide products of the highest quality and freshness, produced in a responsible way. We approach this by ensuring:

• 100% of our cocoa is sourced through independently managed standards such as Rainforest Alliance, Cocoa Horizons and Fairtrade
• We mainly source cocoa beans that we process at our own Ferrero plants. This requires specific know-how and is a distinctive feature of Ferrero’s quality promise. As we source these beans as physically traceable, meaning we know where these beans come from, it also puts Ferrero in an advanced sustainability position. There is a direct link between the farmers that supply us and the cocoa used in the products that we put on the market.
• We use technology to map farms and sourcing areas so that we know their location, size and productivity
• We support our local communities with our sustainability program, which focuses on three areas: improving the livelihoods of farmers and communities, protecting children’s rights and safeguarding the natural capital.

We are proud to have met our target to source 100% cocoa via independently managed standards and have also recently achieved traceability on our cocoa beans. This means we know exactly where our cocoa comes from and can identify and address issues in a very targeted manner.

Working in collaboration

The challenges facing cocoa farmers in West Africa are complex. They require organisations, governments and industry partners to work together to drive wide-scale positive change - beyond our individual supply chains.

We actively collaborate and have been long-term members of the World Cocoa Foundation, the International Cocoa Initiative, and are founding member of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.
Most recently, in April 2020, we announced our intention to join forces with a strong coalition of the government of Côte d’Ivoire, and others to develop a public-private partnership aiming to promote quality education and early childhood development for over 6 million children in Côte d’Ivoire through two initiatives, the Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF), and the Early Learning and Nutrition Facility (ELAN).

Supporting the communities in which we operate

The way we do business with communities across the world matters too. We work in partnership with our suppliers, non-profit and farmer organisations to address agricultural, social, environmental and business issues in cocoa farming and to drive meaningful change on the ground.

We aim to build long-term relationships with the farmer groups that supply our cocoa, working with them to deliver sustainability projects that secure sustainable livelihoods, improve the well-being of women and children, and protect the environment and wildlife. We achieve this through interventions aimed at increasing cocoa productivity, supporting farmers to diversify their income year-round and empowering the women in the local communities.

Child labour in cocoa growing communities remains a shared challenge for the industry, that no one entity can solve alone. We are, and always have been fully committed to fighting against child labour, with the conviction that every child should be protected, by all possible means, from economic exploitation. Our certified farmer groups are audited by independent third parties and we monitor via the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS), a well-proven method developed by the International Cocoa Initiative to effectively tackle child labour.

Through supporting ongoing local projects in regions where we source from, we are working to guarantee responsible cocoa production while also improving cocoa farmers’ living conditions and the well-being of their communities. We are determined to be a key part of the solution and will continue to provide updates on our progress made.

Ending deforestation in the cocoa sector

Protecting the world’s forests is vital to the sustainability of cocoa supply, but deforestation threatens to undermine the resilience of the cocoa sector and the livelihoods of the millions of smallholders who depend on it.

Since 2017, we have been part of a co-operative initiative with other leading global cocoa and chocolate companies to commit to working collaboratively to end deforestation and forest degradation across the global cocoa supply chain.

As part of our commitment to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), we protect and restore forests in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and last year, we published our first CFI progress report – the results showed that in the first year of our action plan, we have made significant progress in helping to end deforestation:

• We mapped more than 140,000 cocoa farms in total in both countries.
• In one year, we developed more than 15,000 hectares of cocoa agroforestry in total in both countries.
• We distributed over 700,000 multi-purpose trees to farmers to plant on their farms.
• We trained almost 118,000 farmers and organizations in Good Agricultural Practices and 31,000 farmers in Climate Smart Cocoa.

We are proud of our performance in the first year and we will continue with the same dedication to make sure that we meaningfully contribute to this collective initiative and to the common goal of ending deforestation in the cocoa sector.

Looking ahead

We feel privileged that our brands like Nutella and Kinder have become family favourites across the UK. With this comes a responsibility to make products that have quality at heart – delivering not only great taste but products that are produced in an ethical and responsible way.

We will continue to strengthen our cocoa sustainability programme to achieve a positive and lasting impact on the cocoa value chain and share our progress along the way.

  • Cocoa & Ferrero

    Cocoa & Ferrero