Press Release | Lindt & Sprüngli Cocoa Foundation and Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Center
Kilchberg, March 15, 2013 – As part of a comprehensive review of the “Supplementary Pension Fund of Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG” (“The Fund”) around CHF 250 million is being transferred to two charitable foundations. The main purpose is the long-term strengthening of Switzerland as a chocolate market place. The Lindt & Sprüngli Cocoa Foundation will be dedicated to all aspects of the sustainable procurement of raw materials. The Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Center Foundation will promote industry-specific basic and advanced training for young professionals, support research projects into new production and process technologies and provide a chocolate museum for the general public.
These two charitable foundations focus on the one hand on the sustainability of the entire raw material supply chain and on the other hand on the acquisition and preservation of knowledge and expertise on the theme of chocolate. “Our commitment to sustainability has been strong for a long time, and we will be able to promote and extend that endeavor in future with an even more targeted focus thanks to these two charitable foundations,” Ernst Tanner, Lindt & Sprüngli CEO, explained.
Financial resources of around CHF 250 million will be made available by realigning the Fund. The Fund was set up in 1942, at a time when the purpose of the foundation was very progressive namely providing occupational benefits for employees. The Fund was regularly boosted by contributions and new purchases of Lindt & Sprüngli shares. Thanks to the prudent policy pursued by the Board of Trustees and the particularly strong development of the Lindt & Sprüngli share price, whose value has risen twelve-fold since 1992, the foundation assets today stand at around CHF 1.1 billion.
The growth of the foundation assets over the past 20 years from around CHF 70 million to the present figure of more than CHF 1.1 billion, in combination with a clearly limited foundation purpose, has led to a decision taken in consultation with the authorities to transfer part of the foundation assets to two new charitable foundations. “In the company’s spirit of ‘Good Corporate Citizenship’, this enables us to give back even more to our society,” Ernst Tanner points out. “The resources are to be used both in Switzerland and in the countries of origin of the raw materials on a sustainable basis to reach a broader circle of stakeholders.”
As in previous years, the Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli (Schweiz) AG pension fund can continue to count upon unchanged, regular and generous supplementary benefits after this realignment.
Lindt & Sprüngli Cocoa Foundation: Supporting sustainability in the raw material sector
The Lindt & Sprüngli Cocoa Foundation has the declared purpose of working to achieve social and ecological sustainability in the cultivation, production and processing of cocoa and other raw materials used in chocolate production. “Thanks to the foundation, our previous socially engaged initiatives are being given a more significant focus with more resources to further intensify work and ensure that it is done in a way which works more effectively towards our goal,” Ernst Tanner explains. “In that spirit, the Lindt & Sprüngli Cocoa Foundation supplements the already existing endeavors of the Lindt & Sprüngli Group designed to improve the living and working conditions of farmers in the countries of origin of the raw materials,” Ernst Tanner adds.
Lindt & Sprüngli has been active for many years in the context of a sustainable and socially-compatible value added chain and is a leader in this field in respect of the long-term security of raw material supplies and fair working and living conditions in the cultivation. Lindt & Sprüngli is one of the few chocolate makers in the world to have full control of each individual step of chocolate production, from selecting the cocoa beans to the finished product. “This enables the company to strike out on its own path, especially when it comes to cocoa procurement, with the same aims as those of the familiar label organizations,” Ernst Tanner stresses. A decision was already reached in 2007 for the company to take responsibility for the implementation of a sustainable procurement program for cocoa beans from Ghana with a view to the transparent, fully traceable and socially compatible use of this raw material. Meanwhile, this program has also been extended to South America. “This enables us to foster close ties with the producing farmers through our partners on site and keep the local situation under review,” Ernst Tanner adds. A special premium which Lindt & Sprüngli pays for the cocoa beans purchased in this way goes to infrastructure and social projects (wells, schools, healthcare, etc.) (*) “which have been financed to the tune of more than 5.5 million US dollars over the past four years”. Today, some three-quarters of all Lindt & Sprüngli’s cocoa bean consumption are fully traceable. The next steps have been set down in writing and are transparently communicated with a binding commitment on the specially created CSR website (**). “Measures such as training and the use of new seedlings enhance the yields and hence the revenue of the farmers concerned,” Ernst Tanner adds. Via the verification program which has been put in progress, an independent review of compliance with international social labor standards will be guaranteed. This verification program is due to be implemented in Ghana by 2016 and extended by 2020 to cocoa beans of all other origins.
Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Center
Safeguarding the role of Switzerland as a chocolate market place for the long term
“We are aware of the national and international importance of the Swiss chocolate industry and therefore have a long-term commitment to safeguarding Switzerland as a chocolate industry center. As one of the innovative pioneers of the Swiss chocolate culture, we are determined to enhance the reputation of Swiss chocolate and also to develop knowledge and expertise about chocolate manufacture and make people all over the world aware of it,” Ernst Tanner stresses. The Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Center will focus on such matters as industry-specific basic and advanced training for professionals. Research into new production and process technologies is also to be conducted in cooperation with universities and other higher educational facilities. At the same time, the foundation is to open a chocolate museum as a forum for the general public on the subject of chocolate.