Tradition and lean processes

We have been manufacturing high-quality chocolate specialties for over 80 years, first in Zurich and then in Wallisellen and Hinwil. Since the beginning of 2017, these two sites have been gradually relocated to Pratteln to modernize production and exploit synergy with other Coop manufacturing companies.

In 1933, Willy Hallheimer and Werner Baer founded a joint stock company in Zurich for the purpose of manufacturing chocolate. These two pioneers chose a company name that combined the beginnings of their last names: Halba. The business initially operated out of Baer’s living room, but then grew rapidly and continuously.

In 1955, the company moved its headquarters to Wallisellen, and twelve years later took over the production of two manufacturers in Wald (Zurich), which was later moved to Hinwil (Zurich). In 1972, Coop took over Chocolats Halba in its entirety and in 2004 integrated the business fully into the Coop Group. In 2013, Coop founded the small Chocolats Halba Honduras subsidiary to safeguard the sustainable procurement of top-quality cocoa from this country.

Cooperative structure

The Coop Group is a cooperative with over 2.5 million members and numerous investments in retail, wholesale and manufacturing companies in Switzerland and abroad. Unlike joint-stock companies, for instance, cooperatives do not exist to generate profit for their shareholders. The revenue they generate is for the benefit of their employees, or is reinvested.

The Coop Cooperative’s supreme body is the Delegate Assembly, whose tasks include electing the Board of Directors. The cooperative structure ensures a balance of power within the company and an even distribution of added value. Details of the Coop Group’s structure and governance can be found in the Coop Annual Report.

In organizational terms, Chocolats Halba is a Coop division within the IT/Production/Services Business Unit. The division underwent a minor restructuring in 2016, and now consists of five operational departments plus three staff departments (see organization chart). Divisional management consists of the Divisional Manager Anton von Weissenfluh and the five departmental managers.

Staff Unit for Sustainability and Communication

Since 2016, Chocolats Halba has had its own Staff Unit for Sustainability and Communication, which reports directly to the Divisional Manager. This unit looks after the growing need for information that results in particular from the commitment to sustainability.

The unit also takes care of controlling and interdisciplinary tasks that are defined in the sustainability strategy, such as planning and implementing projects in cocoa-growing countries and controlling key sustainability figures. This data is validated annually and prepared for use in reports and also for internal purposes, such as calculating the CO2 footprint of the company and of CO2-neutral chocolate – a task carried out by the myclimate Foundation.

Until the end of 2016, our Wallisellen and Hinwil production locations were certified in accordance with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and FSSC 22000. Since the beginning of 2017, the company has gradually been relocating all its production facilities to Pratteln near Basel. The new site makes it possible to exploit synergy with the Coop manufacturing companies Sunray and Cave, and to boost competitiveness. It will also make a significant contribution to achieving the Coop vision of “CO2-neutral by 2023” thanks to wood-pellet heating and a large array of solar panels. Chocolats Halba’s production has been climate-neutral since 2011.

The relocation also means that Chocolats Halba has had to relinquish its ISO 14001 certification for environmental management. Recertification in Pratteln is not possible since Sunray and Cave, who manufacture under the same roof, would also have to be certified according to ISO rules, but they are not currently seeking to obtain certification. However, Halba is continuing to operate a large number of the processes required under ISO 14001 even though it is not certified.

Intensive collaboration with stakeholders

We maintain a constant dialogue with our internal and external stakeholders. Chocolats Halba is a member of important national and international industry organizations such as Chocosuisse, the Swiss Platform for Sustain- able Cocoa and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). The company is also a member of öbu, the Swiss association for sustainable economic activity. We also work closely and constructively with other organizations in projects and consortia – particularly in the field of sustainable cocoa farming and trading, for example with Helvetas, Swisscontact, SECO, the International Trade Centre and Max Havelaar Schweiz.

“We need a future for agriculture that is sustainable and inclusive for all stakeholders involved in the value chain. ITC is glad to be working alongside Chocolats Halba and other strong national and international partners from the public and private sector to implement Alliances for Action, a livelihood and partnership initiative in support of farmer income diversification, adaptation to climate change, better cocoa and greater trade impact.”

Anders Aeroe, Director, Division of Enterprises and Institutions, International Trade Centre (ITC)