Nestlé Australia has announced every chocolate it sells is independently certified to meet environmental and social conditions.
Specifically, the company has ensured all cocoa used for its confectionery business is sourced and produced sustainably on farms with safe working conditions.
More than 3000 tonnes of UTZ Certified cocoa is currently being used to produce Nestlé products, including Kit Kat, Smarties and Club chocolate.
Nestlé Australia business executive manager confectionery and snacks Martin Brown said the Nestlé Cocoa Plan is helping farmers to run profitable farms, eliminate the use of child labour and ensure a sustainable supply of cocoa.
“Our work with West African cocoa farmers is helping to address the issues facing the farmers and their communities, while giving Australian consumers the confidence that the cocoa in them has been produced sustainably,” Mr Brown said.
“It’s difficult to guarantee a sustainable supply of cocoa in the quantities we need in the challenging environment that exists in the Côte d’Ivoire. But the Nestlé Cocoa Plan is starting to make significant progress in these areas which ultimately improves the social and economic conditions of farmers and their families.”
The Nestlé Research and Development Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – the country that supplies Nestlé with the bulk of its cocoa – has been central to the Cocoa Plan, breeding high-yield disease-resistant plants and working alongside farmers to improve their practices.
Research and development head Dr Serigne Diop said almost all cocoa farmers have small landholdings with ageing trees, and as a result, have seen productivity of their farms diminish.
“We believe you cannot have a socially sustainable business if your farmers, your suppliers, are not being paid a fair price and cannot see a future for themselves as farmers,” Dr Diop said.
The Nestlé Cocoa Plan involves supplying farmers with 12 million higher-yielding disease-resistant cocoa trees to replace unproductive trees by 2019, training farmers on efficient farming methods and responsible work practices, and paying farmers a premium for sustainably produced cocoa.
The company is also working with non-government organisations and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to stamp out forced labour practices in the cocoa industry.