ECOM’s Smarter Cocoa Charter Places Farmers At The Heart Of Business
Commits to 100% traceable cocoa by 2025, Net Zero emissions by 2050
A global cocoa and ingredients trading giant, ECOM, has published a fresh set of commitments and time-bound targets to drive forward its mission to grow a smarter future for cocoa.
The Smarter Cocoa Charter is ECOM’s first-ever sustainability report for cocoa in reference to the GRI Standards launched alongside the Charter.
The Charter outlines ECOM’s continued commitment to putting farmers at the heart of its operations and empowering their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
A statement issued by ECOM explained the Smarter Cocoa Charter as based on improving farmer and worker livelihoods, protecting and regenerating nature, and managing change through transparency and traceability.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Cocoa at ECOM, Nicolas de Wasseige said, “With more than 170 years of experience as a commodity trader, ECOM is deeply familiar with the social and environmental challenges that come with trading raw agricultural materials within complex global supply chains. Our Smarter Cocoa Charter creates a clear framework by which we can focus our efforts and track our progress towards a sustainable future for farmers and the planet.”
Among others, the Charter includes a commitment by ECOM to train 100% of farmers within its origin-sourced supply chain, identified as at high risk of negative impacts of climate change, in climate-smart agriculture by the end of 2025.
It said the climate-smart techniques are fashioned to farmers’ specific needs and can include training on good soil management, pest control and shade management.
To help diversify income and enhance climate resilience, the Charter also sets a goal to establish agroforestry models, which are farming systems to help enhance forest cover, sequester carbon, and improve biodiversity and soil health, as well as monitoring systems in 100% of the company’s origin-sourced supply chains by the end of 2023.
Per the Charter, ECOM is further committing to achieve Net Zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2050 following the Science Based Targets Initiative.
At the farm level, ECOM said it has distributed over 7 million multipurpose trees (including fruit and timber trees ) in 2021, with the support of clients, helping to combat deforestation as well as diversify income for farmers and contribute to poverty reduction.
Deputy CEO of Cocoa at ECOM, Guus de Gruiter, said “The Smarter Cocoa Charter is the first phase in our ambition to build a smarter future for cocoa. As we take the next steps in our journey, our focus will be on continually improving sustainability performance throughout our beans, products and processing operations, and elevating the position of sustainability across our business.”
The Charter and Cocoa Sustainability Report also demonstrate ECOM’s efforts to improve farmer livelihoods. The company implemented the Social Progress Index and Gender Equity Index in 2021 to assess social health and gender disparities within its cocoa farming supply chain.
The Gender Equity Index has been successfully piloted in Ghana and Peru to support the company to strategically close the gender equity gaps and empower women, with a goal to roll this out across ECOM’s origin-sourced supply chain by the end of 2025.
ECOM believes that traceability brings greater visibility to its activities and provides assurance that every bean sourced has been done so responsibly.
As a result, ECOM commits to achieving 100% traceability for all beans purchased through its supply chains by the end of 2025.
Senior Global Cocoa Sustainability Manager at ECOM, Pamela Schreier, stated, “We’re thrilled to be launching ECOM’s first cocoa sustainability report in reference to GRI Standards. Through ECOM’s years of intensive, on-the-ground experience we have learnt that supporting and engaging with farmers is fundamental to addressing the challenges facing cocoa growers today.
Last year, in co-operation with our clients and donors, we provided training and services to over 200,000 farmers, supporting their income and helping them future-proof their farming techniques.”