Barry Callebaut, Nestlé Team Up for Agroforestry

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Image courtesy of https://www.barry-callebaut.com/

Agroforestry plays a fundamental role in the Forever Chocolate strategy of Barry Callebaut, as well as Nestlé's Net Zero ambition and Cocoa Plan, as they seek to safeguard biodiversity and enhance the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

By using an agroforestry insetting approach, it becomes possible to eliminate carbon emissions within the supply chains of both companies and their customers.

Agroforestry project with Nestlé

Barry Callebaut and Nestlé have entered into a long-term agreement to establish 11,500 hectares of agroforestry in Côte d’Ivoire, which includes offering payments for ecosystem services (PES) to over 6,000 farmers.

The agroforestry initiative is presently being implemented, with three cooperatives in the south-west region of Côte d’Ivoire currently participating in the project. Over the course of five years of planting, the programme is anticipated to expand to ten cooperatives and reach its full potential.

The project is in complete harmony with the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, which seeks to increase the sustainability of Nestlé's cocoa supply chain, as well as Nestlé's comprehensive Net Zero Roadmap and dedication to regenerative agriculture.

Through this collaborative effort, both Nestlé and Barry Callebaut are advancing their climate-smart cocoa objectives by targeting the removal of as much as 1.3 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent over a 25-year period. Additionally, the initiative aligns with the Science-based Target initiative (SBTi), SustainCert verification, and the Gold Standard Foundation.

According to Darrell High, the Cocoa Manager at Nestlé, the company is devoted to minimising its business' carbon impact, extending all the way to the farms from which it obtains its supplies, as part of Nestlé's Net Zero roadmap. To accomplish this objective, a dependable partner like Barry Callebaut is critical. The joint agroforestry project, which covers an area equivalent to over 21,000 football fields, is intended to aid farmers in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.

How agroforestry helps farmers, companies and the planet

Through agroforestry efforts, the company aims to mitigate the impact of climate change and restore natural biodiversity while helping cocoa farmers prosper and increase their long-term productivity.

Agroforestry helps farmers develop cocoa farms that are more resilient to drought and diseases, have better soil quality, produce better and higher yields, and provide them with additional sources of income.

Cocoa grown under shade trees is also linked to increased biodiversity, carbon removal, and nutrient retention in the soil. In collaboration with local experts and following the latest scientific findings, they determine the best mix of primarily native species to promote cocoa and soil regeneration and attract pollinators, while also providing extra income for farmers and removing carbon.

According to Tilmann Silber, the Global Forest and Carbon Programme Lead at Barry Callebaut, the company invests in carbon removal activities in conjunction with their farmers and customers as part of their Forever Chocolate plan. Silber stated that their pioneering partnership with Nestlé, a company deeply committed to climate action, demonstrates that agroforestry can deliver considerable positive impact in the areas where it is most needed, namely in the shared value chain. The collaboration enables the support of tree planting on cocoa farms, ecosystem restoration, carbon removal from the atmosphere, diversification of farmers' income, and ultimately, an increase in farm climate resilience.

In-house expertise and feet on the ground

Being a sustainability leader in the cocoa and chocolate industry, the company has developed strong sustainability know-how and capabilities. Additionally, with more than 1,600 colleagues located in cocoa-origin countries, they possess a unique pool of expertise, providing in-house capacity to implement and scale their impact on the ground.

The combination of their expertise and cocoa-origin presence serves as key enablers of their robust programme implementation and impact-driven solutions, which is also a point of differentiation for their customers.

Paying farmers for ecosystem services

The company's intensified agroforestry approach, which was launched in 2022 in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, prioritises long-term success through training, extended monitoring, and payments for ecosystem services (PES). With PES, farmers receive yearly payments for the survival of the planted trees as a reward for carbon removal. In addition to the additional income generated through PES, the fruit trees planted alongside cocoa enable farmers to further diversify their income.

From seedlings to land tenure interventions and market linkage

The company's agroforestry approach is a farmer-centric, agile, long-term programme built on trust and loyalty. In the first year, farmers undergo sensitisation on agroforestry and receive farm diagnostics, support with planting design, seedling kits, and technical training.

The following year, replacement seedlings are distributed if necessary, and technical coaching continues with a focus on pruning assistance. Additionally, the first payment for ecosystem services based on their seedlings' performance takes place.

These activities continue in the following years and are accompanied by land tenure interventions. Having formal rights to the land is essential to ensuring a living income for farmers and sustainable cocoa production. With formal land rights, farmers can safely invest in their land to secure their livelihoods. The company's approach also aims to support farmers in creating market linkages for the fruits and other products they produce through agroforestry.

Scaling agroforestry approach with partners across cocoa origins

The company aims to further scale up their agroforestry approach by collaborating with customers to expand their activities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as in other cocoa origins. Through insetting projects, they aim to remove carbon from their own and their customers' supply chains. However, the projects go beyond carbon removal as they address environmental and social challenges. Their holistic approach generates value for farmers, restores ecosystems, and enhances supply chain resilience.

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Source: Barry Callebaut

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