The cornerstone of Lindt & Sprüngli’s sustainable sourcing strategy is the LINDT & SPRÜNGLI FARMING PROGRAM, currently in place in Ghana and Ecuador. Since we have initiated the Program in 2008, more than USD 10 million premiums have been paid.
The program’s aim is to trace cocoa beans back to their origin and support farmers and their communities according to their specific needs. More than 45.000 farmers are participating in the LINDT & SPRÜNGLI FARMING PROGRAM in Ghana and we are continuously working on evaluating opportunities for implementing Farming Programs for other cocoa origins and ingredients.
For our cocoa beans from Ghana we pay a voluntary price premium per each ton of cocoa beans purchased.
Our implementation partner in Ghana, the not for profit organization SOURCETRUST, ensures that the funds invested into the program are used to improve farming practices and the livelihood of farmers and their communities.
1. Traceability and farmer organization: Farmer organization and traceability is the base for all activities to improve the farmers’ and communities’ livelihoods. Lindt & Sprüngli wants to know who grows the ingredients and what the conditions on the ground are to be able to support the farmers and communities according to their needs.
2.Training and capacity building: Farmers are trained according to their needs in good agricultural practices (crop protection, harvesting, post harvesting), good environmental practices (biodiversity, protection of the environment), good social practices (health and safety, labor rights), and good business practices (professionalization of the business).
3. Improvement activities: If needed, the program supports farmer professionalization and community development with investments in farm extension services (e.g. plant protection products, personal protective equipment, new plants) and community development (e.g. boreholes, farm shops).
4. Verification and continuous progress: Within the farmer organizations, internal monitoring and performance management systems evaluate the improvements of farming practices (good agricultural, environmental, social and business practices). The monitoring system gathers baseline data from the moment a farmer joins the program. External assessments enable the progress to be verified. Since 2012 an independent verification of the cocoa supply chain is in place and by 2020 we aim to have our global cocoa supply chain traceable and verified.
Because of their unique taste, Lindt & Sprüngli uses an exceptionally high percentage of fine flavor cocoa bean varieties in addition to consumer beans. Most of these precious fine-flavor beans come from Ecuador. We therefore expanded the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program to Ecuador in 2014, and scaled it up during 2015. The overall aim is to develop a traceable cocoa supply chain with a stable base of fine-flavor cocoa farmers.
We use the same Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program framework in Ecuador as we do in Ghana. However, the content of the training and capacity building pillar, as well as the farmer investments and community development pillar vary due to the different context and needs of the farmers. We are for instance not focusing on community development activities, since the farmers already have access to basic infrastructure (i. e. clean drinking water, electricity, education).
Aligned with the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, we establish traceability for each bag shipped to a Lindt & Sprüngli production site with our local partners. The pilot project started in 2014 with the registration and grouping of 1,100 farmers. The Program is scaled up quickly with the aim to cover all Ecuadorian cocoa farmers supplying to us by 2020.
The Program offers individual coaching, classroom training, as well as farmer field schools through local agronomists. Many cocoa farmers in Ecuador are very environmentally conscious, and are interested in organic farming. Besides offering training on the conservation of natural resources, they therefore also receive practical advice, for instance on how to establish a compost site, how to apply organic fertilizer or how to prepare organic pesticides and fungicides.
Since the Program puts a high emphasis on fine-flavor cocoa, examples for specific activities are trainings on the importance of different cocoa varieties and the distribution of high-yielding fine-flavor cocoa seedlings in collaboration with the governmental research institute INIAP and smaller community-based cocoa seedling nurseries.
Many farmers still have very old and tall trees, which need to be properly pruned to be able to give higher yields. Where necessary, farmer groups therefore receive mechanized pruning tools, which they can use at no cost on their farms. This considerably reduces their workload, and leads to a reduction of plant diseases.
We also work on continuously improving the quality of the cocoa beans we buy from Ecuador. Improved fermentation practices, as well as the provision of solar and gas dryers improve the post-harvesting process.
An Internal Monitoring System follows the progress made by all participating farmers. An external party assesses the entire program.