Cargill traces half of cocoa beans from farm to factory

Technology has enabled Cargill to trace 50% of its cocoa beans in the global direct supply chain from farm to factory.

In its Cocoa and Chocolate Sustainability Report, Cargill said it had used a combination of barcoded bags and digital Cooperative Management Systems (CMS) to track over 150,000 tonnes of cocoa beans in 2018-19. 

The food and drink giant was able to trace 50% of its sustainable cocoa beans, up from 35% in 2017-18. 

The CMS is a digital system used by Cargill that enables traceability of the supply chain and provides an interface between the farmer and the buyer. Farmers are also able to manage loans, collect beans and check fixed versus variable costs. 

Cargill added it had used GPS to map 72% of all farmers in the direct supply chain, representing over 400,000 hectares of farmland, as part of its aim to end deforestation in its cocoa supply chain by 2030.

It worked with World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch initiative, which provided satellite imagery and machine-learning techniques to identify forest change at a very fast pace. 

“Our farm polygon maps are overlaid with their recent satellite data of forests and protected areas to see if deforestation has potentially taken place in our supply chain. Without this technology, it would be very difficult in many cases to see where and when deforestation might have happened,” the report said. 

Cargill added the implementation of child labour monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) had significantly increased, extending from 7% to 29% of the total number of farms in the direct supply chain.

In addition to Côte d’Ivoire, CLMRS has been deployed in Ghana and Cameroon, reaching 58,800 farmers in 2018-19. 

Harold Poelma, president of Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, said: “This sustainability progress report highlights how Cargill uses technology to connect every dot in the cocoa supply chain. Maximum transparency in the cocoa sector is critical for making real progress on sustainability. It not only helps cocoa farmers, their families and communities prosper, but also helps protect our planet. I am confident that working with our partners we can continue to make great strides in achieving a thriving cocoa sector.”

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