Many bakery ingredients have their origins from overseas. They often are grown and harvested in countries where poor farming practices and labor conditions have been the norm for too long. For decades, major supply chain stakeholders have dedicated resources to ensure responsible farming in some of the most vulnerable environments.

“We believe that true sustainability can only be achieved when all parties of an ecosystem cooperate ethically, lawfully and responsibly for the benefit of a greater common good,” said John Hartmann, global sustainability lead, agricultural supply chain-edible oils, Cargill. “In 2004, we began our sustainable palm oil mission with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Since then, our commitment to spread ethical and responsible practices across the global palm oil sector has grown to our present goal of ensuring a 100% transparent, traceable and sustainable palm oil supply chain by 2020.”

With global demand for chocolate growing as discretionary income increases in developing markets, sustainable cocoa farming has become a priority for many consumers. While demand goes up, the deforestation of tropical rainforests has become a major issue in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s supply of cocoa. Efforts to eliminate deforestation from the cocoa supply chain are critical to ensuring supply.

“We recognize that the cultivation of agricultural commodities has been a driver of accelerated deforestation and forest degradation over the past 50 years,” said Peter Blommer, chief executive officer of Blommer Chocolate Co.

Cocoa suppliers are dedicating resources to change the future of cocoa farmers by professionalizing and intensifying the agricultural practices that are the foundation of a well-run, high-yield and profitable cocoa farm. By enabling farmers to create sustainable businesses, industrial users of cocoa and chocolate believe they will ensure ample future supplies of cocoa while increasing incomes and securing livelihoods for tomorrow’s cocoa farmers.

“The journey will not be simple, but we will make progress more quickly by working together,” said Harold Poelma, president, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.

John Church, chief supply chain officer, General Mills, Minneapolis, agreed.

“Deforestation is a significant challenge, but by aligning and working together, we can put a stop to it and positively impact climate change by rehabilitating the land,” he said.

This article is an excerpt from the December 2018 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on sustainable sourcing, click here.