It’s Valentine’s Day, which means many of us are going to reach for that box of chocolate for a gift (or for ourselves) - last year, estimates suggested almost $2 billion was spent on chocolate and candy in the U.S. alone. Spending on chocolate has become easier for consumers, as market forces have resulted in the price of chocolate decreasing in recent years.
But there are several long-term threats to the global chocolate industry, not the least of which is climate change. Concerns over human rights have also convinced more consumers to be discerning about the choices they make when purchasing chocolate. Companies have responded in kind, as many have started to partner with nonprofits on projects ranging from mapping tools to supply chain transparency.
One company pledging to improve its chocolate supply chain performance is Italy-based Ferrero. The owner of many brands, including Kinder, Nutella, the famous gold foil-wrapped Ferrero Rocher - and soon, several Nestle products made here in the U.S. - recently issued its latest sustainability report.
Ferrero says it is striving to address where the concerns of its stakeholders, and the company’s potential business impacts, converge. Four of these most pressing issues are product safety, human rights, responsible sourcing and nutrition.
To that end, Ferrero has outlined several sustainability goals the company seeks to complete by the end of this decade - some of them have already been met. On the environmental front, the company pledged last year to end all and any deforestation within its supply chain.
Several objectives, such as sourcing only cage-free eggs and using only sustainable palm oil, were completed earlier this decade. Other goals, such as using only certified sustainable cocoa, responsibly sourced sugar and improving the traceability of one of its most important ingredients, hazelnuts, are on target to be reached by 2020.
Curiously, food waste did not rate as a high concern either by the company or its stakeholders; but in the past, the company has experimented with making packaging out of hazelnut shells, and Ferrero says it is tackling other waste concerns by using more renewable sources for its wrappers and boxes.
Finally, a company known for indulgence says it is striving to ensure its products are consumed responsibly. In Europe, Ferrero says it does not market to kids under 12 years old; and through its Kinder brands, it is has reached 4.4 million kids in extolling the virtues of sport.
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Image credit: Noha Nve/Flickr
Leon Kaye, Executive Editor, has written for Triple Pundit since 2010. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media, and the Editor in Chief of CR Magazine. His previous work can be found at The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas.