In 2018, Nestlé's total purchase of cocoa beans from the Nestlé Cocoa Plan reached almost 200,000 tonnes. We want to be sure that we can stand behind our claim that this cocoa is 100% sustainably sourced.
However, the majority of cocoa farmers are smallholders. We source from 87,000 individual farms and traceability is therefore a major challenge.
As part of Nestlé's overall commitment to responsible sourcing, the company is using a combination of tools, including certification, supply chain mapping, satellite imagery, and landscape initiatives to achieve 100% traceability back to farm for the cocoa we purchase through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan by the end of 2019.
Certification of our cocoa is an important external assurance for us, our brands and our consumers. Our partner in certification is UTZ, part of the Rainforest Alliance.
Every UTZ certified product is grown in accordance with our Code of Conduct, which sets guidelines for better farming methods and working conditions, as well as better care for nature and future generations.
In the cocoa industry, cocoa beans are generally supplied in bulk and mixed during shipping and manufacturing, which in most cases makes it impossible to keep certified cocoa separate from non-certified cocoa. This is very different from other sectors like coffee.
In order to bring the benefits of certification to as many cocoa farmers a possible, UTZ uses a system called ‘mass balance’ which is also used, in one form or another, by the other main sustainability initiatives.
Nestlé purchases certified cocoa from Nestlé Cocoa Plan farmers. Due to the mass balance system that our partner UTZ uses, it means that this certified cocoa is mixed with non-certified cocoa in the supply chain between the farmer and Nestlé, so it is not kept physically separated. However we do ensure that the correct quantity of cocoa is bought for the volume of UTZ-certified products we sell.
For farmers, it doesn’t matter whether the cocoa they sell ends up in one chocolate bar or another. What matters to them are the benefits they experience, such as higher productivity, bigger incomes, and better living conditions.
You can read more about UTZ here: https://utz.org/better-business-hub/sourcing-sustainable-products/stabilizing-supply-and-demand-for-certified-cocoa/ and more about 'mass balance' here: https://utz.org/what-we-offer/certification/products-we-certify/cocoa/massbalance/