The “Fazer for Responsible Cocoa” event, summary

The cocoa value chain is, by nature, international, involving several parties. Creating a sustainable cocoa economy requires co-operation between different actors in the field. Locally tailored solutions and continuous improvement are required from the responsibility programmes aimed at supporting cocoa farmers. More emphasis should be given to the majority of cocoa farmers that remain outside of the current sustainability tools.

On 22 October, Fazer Group organised a “Fazer for Responsible Cocoa” event at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, to discuss the latest insight on cocoa and invite different stakeholders to shape roadmap towards a better cocoa value chain. The event opened up the big picture of the cocoa value chain and the objective was to seek sustainable solutions.

Sustainability is a moving target – only 20 % of the farmers are organised

A lot of effort is being put, by different actors, to improve the conditions in the primary production of cocoa. At the same time, it is clear that sustainability is a moving target. Development areas include, for example, measuring the impact of the different programmes and traceability.

While certifications provide an easy way to communicate to consumers – as pointed out by Matti Kalervo, Vice President for Corporate Responsibility, Kesko – many of the speakers highlighted the challenge that only around 20 % of the world’s cocoa farmers are organised and covered by the certification systems, while 80 % of the cocoa farmers remain independent and outside of them. According to Michiel Hendriksz, CEO, FarmStrong Foundation, it is crucial that we move from targeting just the organised farmers into reaching the majority of cocoa farmers.

Rolf Ladau, Managing Director of Fazer Confectionery described that the Fazer for Better Cocoa programme aims to support both, certified cocoa production and supporting the farmers outside the certification systems through direct sustainability programmes in Ecuador and Nigeria. In 2015, 75 % of all Fazer’s cocoa is purchased through direct sustainability programmes or certification schemes. Fazer’s cocoa vision is that by 2017, the origin of the cocoa will be traceable and all the cocoa will fulfil the criteria of responsible production.

Co-operation beyond old boundaries

Katri Kauppi, Assistant Professor, Logistics, Department of Information and Service Economy, Aalto University Cocoa pointed out that the cocoa supply chain is very complex. It is important to take a holistic view of the supply chain, and aim at continuous improvement, rather than mere compliance. No organisation alone can solve all the issues so it’s crucial to aim for deeper cooperation. During the event, it was highlighted that when looking for solutions, it is necessary to go beyond cocoa and beyond the old boundaries between different organisations. Benjamin Smith, Senior Officer CSR & Sustainability, ILO-IPEC said that also companies from different sectors can learn from each other. During the discussion, also different roles and responsibilities of the actors were highlighted. Smith pointed out that the primary responsibility, when it comes to e.g. the elimination of child labour, lies with governments.

The need to move forward and increase cooperation also concerns the certification schemes. Brigitte Campfens, Head of Department Market Development Europe, UTZ Certified, pointed out that while certification is a robust tool, there’s a need to innovate its key ingredients – for example better traceability.

Locally tailored solutions required – one solution doesn’t fit all

Farmer perspective is crucial in building successful sustainability programs. This includes solutions that are adapted locally, and developed in close consultation with farmers. Cocoa production realities vary greatly between countries, geographical areas and cultures. Simon Conway-Jarrett, Managing Director, Tulip Cocoa Processing Ltd., Nigeria pointed out that bottom-up approach and local level brainstorming was a key to building Fazer’s project with Source Trust in Nigeria. This approach facilitated farmer engagement from the beginning.

Riikka Karppinen, Commercial Director, Fairtrade Finland, highlighted that cocoa producers need committed buyers and long term commitment in order to be able to develop their business.

Sustainability to secure the future of cocoa

A sustainable cocoa supply chain is an ethical question and, at the same time, a prerequisite for business. The chocolate industry depends on a supply of quality cocoa and the demand is growing. Farmers need to get an equitable return for their crops and the cocoa growing communities need to be supported. It is important to focus on training farmers as that leads to, as pointed out by Simon Conway-Jarret, good agricultural practices, the safe and correct use of fertilisers, improved yield and quality, and this should lead to improved farmer incomes.

Reaching the majority of farmers, cooperation and sharing of expertise, understanding the farmer perspective – all these are needed to create a sustainable cocoa value chain.


Ulrika Romantschuk, SVP, Communications & Branding, Fazer Group

Benjamin Smith, Senior Officer CSR & Sustainability, ILO-IPEC

Michiel Hendriksz, CEO, FarmStrong Foundation

Simon Conway-Jarrett, Managing Director, Tulip Cocoa Processing Ltd, Nigeria

Brigitte Campfens, Head of Department Market Development Europe, UTZ Certified

Rolf Ladau, Managing Director, Fazer Confectionery and EVP, Fazer Group

Co-creation session participants:

Matti Kalervo, Vice President for Corporate Responsibility, Kesko

Riikka Karppinen, Head of Marketing and Commercial Relations, Fairtrade Finland

Michiel Hendriksz, CEO, FarmStrong Foundation

Katri Kauppi, Assistant Professor, Logistics, Department of Information and Service Economy, Aalto University

Nina Elomaa, Corporate Responsibility Director, Fazer Group

Fazer Group

Fazer is an international family-owned company offering quality bakery, confectionery, biscuit and grain products as well as food and café services. Fazer operates in eight countries and exports to more than 40 countries. Fazer’s mission is to create taste sensations. The company’s success, ever since its establishment in 1891, has been based on the best product and service quality, beloved brands, the passion of its skilful people and the company’s responsible ways of working. The goal is to share the taste of good life every day. Fazer Group’s net sales in 2014 amounted to more than 1.6 billion euros and the company has over 15,000 employees. Fazer’s operations comply with ethical principles that are based on the Group’s values and the UN Global Compact.

Makes the world taste good




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