US premium chocolate maker Godiva is partnering with the Earthworm Foundation to make sustainable improvements to the cocoa supply chain and support farming communities. The collaboration will begin in Côte d’Ivoire, where approximately 40 percent of the world’s cocoa is sourced and will protect forests by tackling cocoa-related deforestation in West Africa as well as support the lives of people who grow and harvest cocoa.  

The Earthworm Foundation, a global non-profit that strives to positively impact the relationship between people and nature, will bring an important perspective and expertise to review and evaluate Godiva’s cocoa supply chain and help the company execute on its commitment to foster responsibly sourced cocoa.

“Godiva is dedicated to our vision for a sustainable and thriving cocoa industry where farmers prosper, communities are empowered, human rights are respected and the environment is conserved,” says Annie Young-Scrivner, CEO.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Earthworm Foundation and support their incredibly crucial work to make value chains an engine of prosperity for communities and ecosystems.”

“We believe that together we can help tackle cocoa-related deforestation in West Africa, which will also help create increased value for cocoa farmers,” adds Bastien Sachet, CEO of the Earthworm Foundation. “During the first six months of our partnership, we look forward to collaborating to build the foundation needed to actively protect and regenerate forests.”

Godiva is also a member of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and participates in its Cocoa & Forests Initiative. 

Positively impact the relationship between people and nature
This partnership comes amid increasing moves with the F&B industry to strengthen sustainability credentials, tapping into The Sustain Domain Trend, Innova Market Insights’ top third #3 trend for 2020. Bolstering sustainability is particularly prevalent in the cocoa supply chain. 

Consumers increasingly expect companies to invest in sustainability. Innova Market Insights research has indicated that 85 percent of, on average, US and UK consumers expect companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64 percent in 2018.

Being a socially responsible business is part of this. and, as Godiva notes. eEnsuring sustainability and building responsible practices into its sourcing and supply chain, while safeguarding the environment, is a key part of this. 

There have been other moves in strengthening the cocoa supply chain recently. Earlier this month, Barry Callebaut revealed its target to become “forest positive” by 2025 as part of its Forever Chocolate commitment. This means that the Swiss chocolate manufacturer has to develop a greater understanding of where deforestation is at risk of occurring in its supply chain. 

For cocoa, Barry Callebaut works in close partnership with environmental sustainability consultancy, Quantis, to develop a carbon footprinting assessment to evaluate the impacts of land-use change (LUC) and deforestation driven by cocoa farming.

In May, Barry Callebaut also said that perceptions of food sustainability in Japan – especially within the chocolate market – are rapidly changing. Japanese consumers are recognizing issues presented in food supply chains and connecting consumption behaviors with a desire to safeguard the planet. To further boost the eco-conscious sentiment in the Japanese chocolate market, the chocolate giant partnered with Tokyo-based Yuraku Confectionery and calls for chocolate manufacturers in Japan to push sustainability forward.