Chocolats Halba uses established audited standards to create transparency and trust in its procurement processes. Depending on the origin of the raw material and the conditions that prevail when it is produced, we decide what type of certification is needed. When doing so, we take particular account of social and environmental criteria.
Certification plays an important role in the globalized economy. Independent organizations check that the manufacturing process and the products supplied meet agreed standards. These days, there are a large number of labels for various products and processes. Most of them focus on one particular aspect, although the requirements of some do overlap.
To create transparency for customers and business partners and to achieve its sustainability goals, Chocolats Halba uses a range of widespread, internationally established standards. But it is not possible to buy all certified raw materials in sufficient quantities or quality, or at an acceptable price. For this reason, Chocolats Halba has set itself different goals in its sustainability strategy depending on the raw material and certification involved.
The Fairtrade standard, which is also known in Switzerland as “Max Havelaar”, principally guarantees acceptable social conditions for products originating from the Global South. Fair minimum prices and purchase guarantees strengthen local producers, and Fairtrade premiums finance local social projects. The Fairtrade standard also lays down basic environmental requirements. At regular audits, independent inspectors check whether producer organizations are adhering to guidelines. 94 percent of the cocoa beans that Chocolats Halba bought in 2016 were Fairtrade-certified. For cocoa butter, this figure was 77 percent. The sugar that Chocolats Halba bought from outside Switzerland was all Fairtrade-certified.
Fairtrade cocoa beans
For Chocolats Halba, direct purchasing constitutes the most effective method for long-term secure procurement of high-grade fine cocoa. Almost all partner cooperatives are Fairtrade-certified; employees like George Leonardo Cevallos Loor of Fortaleza del Valle enjoy good working conditions.
“Strong producer organizations are the key to self-determination. Fairtrade supports this through democratically organized small farming cooperatives. This enables farmers to come together to gain a stronger position in the market. The guaranteed minimum price also ensures security, and the additional Fairtrade premium makes important investments possible.”
Fabian Waldmeier, Head of International Cooperation, Max Havelaar Foundation (Switzerland)
The UTZ certification standard for good farming practice is an independent certification for cocoa, coffee, tea and, since 2016, hazelnuts. The label has expanded significantly over recent years, and our customers are increasingly demanding it. UTZ certification focuses on increasing productivity in agricultural production, which is intended to improve the living conditions of the producers and their families. Producers must also adhere to minimum environmental and social standards in order to be certified. Independent bodies conduct annual checks to establish whether producers are adhering to the code of conduct.
By buying cocoa butter and hazelnuts bearing the UTZ label, Chocolats Halba wants to ensure that no human rights violations occur during the production of the raw materials it purchases, and that minimum environmental standards are observed.
Palm oil certified as “RSPO-segregated”
The “Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)” is an international organization that seeks to establish long-term, widely applicable solutions for the more environmentally and socially responsible cultivation of palm oil. In addition to environmental associations and other NGOs, its members primarily include businesses and institutions in the palm oil value chain, such as plantation owners, traders and industry buyers. RSPO auditors check whether producers are respecting local legislation and minimum environmental and social requirements. In its production, Chocolats Halba uses exclusively certified palm oil that is additionally endorsed as “Segregated”.
Organic labels denote the produce of controlled organic farming. There is now a whole range of such certification marks, including the Bio Suisse bud that is widely used in Switzerland, and that places stringent requirements on licensees. All the organic raw materials that Chocolats Halba buys, including over one third of all its cocoa beans, are certified in accordance with strict Bio Suisse criteria.
Chocolats Halba purchases the fine cocoa variety “Criollo” from Honduras. It's delicate floral notes make dark chocolate extra-special.
The Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) is an international business initiative that aims to safeguard decent working conditions worldwide – such as appropriate remuneration, contractual working hours and basic employee rights – by means of a code of conduct. This also includes a ban on child labor. Chocolats Halba demands adherence to the BSCI requirements of all processing facilities based in risk countries.
The SA-8000 standard is based on the International Convention on Human Rights and recommendations made by the United Nations’ International Labour Organization. These guidelines include strict requirements in the fields of working conditions, freedom of association and respect for human rights. Independent certification organizations make regular checks directly in the companies to ascertain whether the standards are being met.
These checks include interviews with employees and with stakeholders outside the company, for example, trade unions. Chocolats Halba uses SA-8000 in particular when buying hazelnuts – all the hazelnuts it buys are certified either in accordance with BSCI (see above) or SA-8000.
Cardboard and paper are obtained from wood. Since 2012, all of Chocolats Halba’s paper-based packaging has been made from recycled material or has been FSC-certified. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) campaigns for sustainable forestry around the globe. This non-profit organization has developed standards for environmentally and socially responsible forestry. Independent certification bodies ensure that all FSC-certified businesses meet the requirements for this standard.
FSC-certified timber is responsibly cultivated and protects rain forests such as this one in Alto Huayabamba in Peru.