Enabling, educating and empowering cocoa farmers

Sophia Cochrane

Responsible Sourcing Manager

15 Jul 2016

To help cocoa farmers, we’ve announced that all cocoa required to make Tesco own label chocolates sold in the UK will be 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Our customers want to be reassured that we treat farmers and growers well and that the foods they buy are sourced responsibly. In recent weeks, we’ve announced new standards on milk, eggs and potatoes in the UK for example. 

For growers, farmers and fishermen further afield, where we often represent a smaller proportion of their overall business, we seek to work with the best independent experts who can ensure they are supported in a similar way.

For example we know that declining fish stocks is a concern for our customers so we are working with the Marine Stewardship Council on our fish sourcing, extending the number of MSC lines we sell from 16 to 80 already this year, and introducing MSC certified fish to our 656 fish counters across the country.

Cocoa is another much-loved product for our customers, where farmers experience both social and environmental challenges in their families, farms and communities.

To help cocoa farmers, we’ve announced that all cocoa required to make Tesco own label chocolates sold in the UK will be 100% Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM.

Through this exciting new collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, we are helping to support farmers to improve their livelihoods, enabling them to have better market access and increased incomes whilst safeguarding soils and conserving wildlife.

By the end of 2018, we’ve also committed to ensuring all cocoa sourced for Tesco that goes into other products, including biscuits, cakes, desserts and cereals, will also be responsibly sourced. Cocoa will be sourced in accordance with a number of sustainability programmes including the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Cocoa Horizons and Fairtrade.

I saw the difference responsible sourcing can make when I visited cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic. There, I saw farmers wanting help to plan and sustain their business for the future. They wanted to keep changing and learning, and were looking for support from the wider chocolate industry. That’s why it’s so important Tesco is working with partners to commit to sourcing 100% of our cocoa responsibly. By doing so, our customers can help us empower farmers and through them their communities, securing them a better future.

Not only do producers often achieve higher productivity and increase their income under the Rainforest Alliance certification, achieving compliance with the standard also helps famers to understand the importance of workers’ rights, education and community relations. We believe this will lead to a more sustainable, long-term industry, with ethical working conditions and safeguarded rights for children.

One producer I visited grew his crop by the edge of the river on the small piece of land he owned. By working with the Rainforest Alliance, he received training on how to plant other crops to promote the right environment for his trees so that he could increase his yield - simple things like explaining the best way of pruning, managing the shade for his trees, using composting and reducing reliance on pesticides. Growing cocoa in this way, he was able to protect the natural rainforest in which his farm was situated and had other crops to add to the family meal or to sell.

Vida Tsatso Boaful, Cocoa Farmer:

“Since I started practicing what I had been taught during the training sessions, my yield in cocoa production keeps improving and has increased from about three bags per acre to about 10 bags per acre. Our children are also now happily in school.”

By doing all of this, the work of the Rainforest Alliance not only helps to benefit farmers, but their families and the cocoa growing communities in which they live too.

Through our collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, customers can be assured our products are helping to support farmers in having better lives whilst protecting the environment in which they grow their cocoa. Just look for more frog seals appearing on our own label chocolate products in the coming months.

Adrien Koffi Kouadio, Cocoa Farmer:

“When you follow the training of the Rainforest Alliance, your cocoa will grow and flourish. It can bring you a better life.”

I believe responsible sourcing is not just about paying more to producers, but also supporting them in getting the best from their farms for a positive impact on their family and wider community.


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