Ingredients business Olam Cocoa has confirmed it has now achieved 100% traceability of directly sourced cocoa across its international supply chain, reports Neill Barston.
The company, which initially made a commitment five years ago to enhance the transparency of its operations, said this meant that its actions meant around 12% of the world’s total cocoa supplies could now be linked back to the precise farm and community they were sourced from.
Its latest development comes as a number of major confectionery groups have made similar pledges, in order to substantially increase the digital monitoring relating to cocoa supplies that are a vital part of the global chocolate and wider confectionery market.
As Olam revealed, its breakthrough is the first significant milestone for Cocoa Compass, Olam Cocoa’s sustainability ambition for the future of cocoa. In its latest progress update, the company confirmed it is on track to meet its targets.
These include a commitment to achieving 100% deforestation and child labour monitoring across all managed sustainability programmes worldwide in its direct supply chain by the end of 2020.
In order to achieve 100% traceability, Olam Cocoa, which sources from a number of locations including key markets in Ghana and Ivory Coast, West Africa, added that it has developed an end-to-end traceability system which 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, and details on the facility where the cocoa was processed, it can provide unprecedented transparency for customers and allow sustainability programmes targeted at tackling child labour and deforestation to be tailored to the specific needs of farmers and cocoa-growing communities.
This builds on insights from existing tools, namely the Olam & Farmer Information System (OFIS), which feeds through to Olam’s sustainability insights platform, AtSource.
A dashboard shows where the cocoa beans have come from, as well as the social and environmental impact they have had on their journey from source to manufacturer.
Over 325,000 cocoa farmers across Asia, Africa and South America are now using Olam’s sustainability technology to share their data in this way.
Gerard A. Manley, CEO, Olam Cocoa, said: “Cocoa traceability has been a significant challenge for the industry due to the 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 labour and deforestation.
“A combination of our origination infrastructure and the processes we have developed over the past 25 years combined with the rapid increase in mobile and internet capability, means that our field teams can now collect, transmit and analyse 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.”
“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% direct source traceability is a significant step towards our longer-term ambition of a professionalised and quality-focused cocoa supply chain, one where farmers are earning a living income, child labour is eliminated, and the natural world is protected.”
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