Purchasing with a plus for all
Due to its outstanding economic importance and also the environmental and social risks involved, Chocolats Halba focuses its attention primarily on cocoa when it comes to purchasing. The best way to secure high quality in the long term is by buying directly and responsibly. Chocolats Halba therefore buys almost exclusively Fairtrade-certified cocoa butter and beans from cooperatives.
The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) originates in the primeval forests of Central and South Africa. Today, an estimated five million small-scale farmers in West Africa, Asia and Latin America produce 95% of the cocoa enjoyed throughout the world. Despite growing demand, farming families still lack a stable income with which they can cover their most pressing needs. Their acreage is small, and their harvests are modest. They also have to contend with wildly fluctuating market prices.
Feliciano Zacarías Rodríguez Sánchez and Polonia Sarmiento Montalbán from Peru are members of ACOPAGRO, one of the Fairtrade-certified cooperatives which deliver cocoa beans to Chocolats Halba.
Cocoa products account for around 40 percent by weight of the raw materials purchased by Chocolats Halba. We prioritize the procurement of cocoa, as it is a significant component, and its cultivation and trading contains environmental and social risks. We buy our cocoa mostly in the form of beans, processing them in our own plant to produce cocoa mass, which forms the basis for our wide range of chocolate specialties.
In 2016, Chocolats Halba bought a total of 2,197 tonnes of cocoa beans from its partner cooperatives. Almost two-thirds originated from Ghana, with the remainder coming from Ecuador, Peru and Honduras. In addition to cocoa beans, Halba bought a total of 114 tonnes of Fairtrade cocoa mass and 43 tonnes of organic and Fairtrade-certified cocoa mass from other countries in 2016. In so doing, it is supplementing its range of origin-specific chocolates.
Sustainably certified cocoa butter
Cocoa butter is the second most important raw material used in manufacturing chocolate. In 2016, Chocolats Halba purchased a total of 2,487 tonnes of it. 98 percent of this was certified as sustainable – 77 percent Fairtrade (19 percent also organic) and 21 percent UTZ. Only 2 percent of this cocoa butter was not certified, as it was ordered back in 2015 but not delivered until 2016. Since the beginning of 2016, Halba has only purchased certified cocoa butter.
Since 2010, Chocolats Halba has hugely increased the quantities of Fairtrade beans and butter it has bought. Our declared objective of achieving a fully certified cocoa supply chain is within our grasp. However, the percentage of Fairtrade-certified cocoa beans fell slightly to 94 percent in the year under review. The reason for this is that many cooperatives in Honduras only produce very small quantities, so they do not undertake the time-consuming and costly task of certification. However, Halba pays Fairtrade minimum prices and premiums for non-certified cocoa beans as well.
Worldwide demand for cocoa is growing. At the same time, climate change and non-sustainable cultivation methods are threatening the supply of high-quality cocoa. Added to this, labor-intensive cocoa farming does not appear very attractive to younger generations. Against this backdrop, Chocolats Halba is concentrating its business and sustainability strategy on securing the sourcing of its key raw material.
The most effective way of safeguarding long-term supplies of high-quality cocoa is to buy it directly. Therefore, Chocolats Halba keeps its supply chain as short as possible and purchases a significant amount of cocoa beans directly from the cooperatives. In Ghana, the political conditions do not allow direct purchasing from individual cooperatives. Despite this, we are working closely there with our partner cooperative Kuapa Kokoo.
Chocolats Halba's Head of Sustainability and Communication, Petra Heid, and Daniel Böni, Head of Procurement, talking to a farmer of the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana.
“We are linked to Chocolats Halba by a long-standing partnership based on loyalty and shared strategic goals. The company’s partnership and commitment to the long-term development of the cocoa sector goes way beyond simply buying fair-trade cocoa. With the new ’Dynamic agroforestry’ pilot project, we are jointly sending out a clear signal for the future of our cocoa.”
Fatima Ali, President Kuapa Kokoo
Washington León Haro and Marlon Mora, employees of the UNOCACE in Ecuador, sorting and bagging cocoa beans for shipping. The cocoa beans have already been fermented, dried and quality tested.
Variety, soil and climate, cultivation method and cocoa bean processing all have a decisive impact on flavor and quality. By working closely with its partner cooperatives, Chocolats Halba gains a detailed insight into the local farming and processing methods. By giving farmers specific training and investing in the post-harvest infrastructure, Chocolats Halba is able to safeguard the quality of the cocoa beans it buys.
Our procurement and sustainability experts are in constant contact with the cooperatives and visit them regularly. If problems arise in the farming areas, Halba helps to identify causes and solutions. And the agroforestry projects that Chocolats Halba has initiated together with cooperatives in Honduras, Ecuador and Ghana are helping to secure the long-term productivity and quality of cocoa plantations.
Farmers in the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana spread their freshly fermented cocoa out to dry.
Promoting premium varieties
For manufacturing high-quality dark chocolate, Chocolats Halba uses premium original Latin American varieties of cocoa. However, these are being increasingly displaced by more robust varieties whose taste cannot compete with the diverse flavors of premium cocoa varieties.
For this reason, Chocolats Halba is promoting the cultivation of the original premium cocoa variety “Cacao Nacional Arriba” in its FINCA agroforestry project in Ecuador. This mixed cultivation approach is also particularly useful for safeguarding the supply of high-quality premium cocoa.