Guittard Chocolate has been caring for and improving the quality of its chocolate for years without limiting its efforts to the manufacturing process but rather expanding the lines of work to the entire production chain in the countries of origin to improve the quality of the cocoa beans, the environmental impact, and the life of the communities that cultivate it. As Gary Guittard himself expresses, it is a “holistic effort that can contribute positively to a more sustainable environment, healthy communities, and more resilient supply chains”.
These are the conclusions that emerge from the Cultivate Better Annual Report 2022 in which the company has integrated in a single report all its work related to the quality of cultivation and post-cultivation (Cultivate Better and Cultivate Better Cocoa) combined with the concern to support the farming communities of origin and for guaranteeing production sustainability (Cocoa and Forest Initiative).
Guittard Chocolate describes it as a “continued journey toward sustainability and responsible business practices” that, for example, lead to a whole line of work called Protecting Flavor. This report highlights the creation of two new Flavor Labs in Nigeria and Cameroon, joining existing ones in Java, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Especially in Ghana, cocoa farmers who have been working with them since 2014 are identified as Cocoa of Excellence, obtaining a high-yielding, grafted fine flavor cocoa planted in various agroforestry systems.
No less important is the work carried out through in partnership with the Fair Trade and the Rainforest Alliance as well as with suppliers of sugar, vanilla, and dairy products. They have also obtained an improvement in the quality of cocoa beans in 42% of cocoa bean shipments that have benefited from the Learning by Tasting initiative. In the last period, they have implemented two new community-based post-harvest centers in Ecuador.
Another line of work is linked to Supporting, people and Communities, with special emphasis on the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where the risk of child labor is to be reduced through all kinds of educational and community empowerment initiatives. These are actions that are developed collectively with other players and institutions in the area, such as the CLEF (Child Learning and Education Facility) project. In Ecuador and Peru, they have joined the innovative pilot program “Gender Equity Index”.
Both initiatives are also connected to the Honorable sourcing concept, based on extending and strengthening long-term relationships with regular suppliers and exporters. Collaborative work with the Fair Trade USA label over the past 12 years has allowed for setting more far-reaching goals in the same direction.
It is extensive work with many aspects that do not lose sight of the Preserving the environment axis in which the first “Carbon Footprint assessment” has been completed to outline the future sustainability objectives of Guittard Chocolate. Objectives such as the installation of solar panels in some facilities or the reduction of water consumption by more than 30% by 2025. In the communities of origin, it has contributed to the planting of shade trees in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Or in terms of packaging, 24% of all the plastic film used has been changed for another based on PCR (post-consumer-recycled), which has a very positive impact on the use of certain materials.