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  • Writer's pictureMeyrick Consulting

Sustainable Supply Chains are a ‘must have’ moving forward

2020 will be remembered as a year where communication, responsibility and our interconnectivity have never been so visible and important. Therefore, the way we do business and all associated activities will change. Sustainable supply chains and the relevance of exciting, ethical and careful collaborations are key to future growth, prosperity for all, and a kinder approach to both people and the planet.

Covid 19 was, and still is, an unwelcome shock to every aspect of our lives

Photo Kevin Grieve

Yet what it has done is shine a powerful spotlight on inequalities and the need to think about the impact of our consumption, production and also our moral and eco responsibilities. This isn’t a feel good, knee jerk reaction to the pandemic. Consumers are demanding that companies look to their housekeeping and produce goods and services that tread more lightly on the planet and look after every single person that contributes to the finished article. Key workers have never been so evident, and companies will do well to recognise this shift and incorporate demanding targets from 2021 and beyond.

From carbon neutrality to the final end of child labour company responsibilities have never been higher

Photo Nathan Anderson

A good example of a company that embraced this approach must be Swiss chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut. It is the largest chocolate manufacturer around and has made a profound difference to its CO2 emissions in 2020 with plans to do more moving forward. This year Barry Callebaut has, in fact, slashed its overall footprint by 8.1 percent, from 8.5 million to 7.8 million metric tons of CO2e. This is sizeable and sets the bar in one sense. Here is a company that is incredibly influential in the chocolate industry and is known for its technical innovation in relation to the production of very high-quality chocolate. It has continued to thrive and increase quality while remaining cost effective. This has not come at a price, however. It is also aiming to completely end child labour practices by 2025. It also has plans to increase economic momentum and improvement for all its farmers too.

Covid has not stopped Barry Callebaut moving forward with their ambitious projects

Photo Brett Jordan

Barry Callebaut has not been afraid to keep making strides towards its ambitions even when a pandemic was raging worldwide. Their CEO, Antoine de Saint-Affrique recently said that the pandemic actually underscored the importance and relevance of their ambitions. The company understood that further scaling and targets to eradicate the less palatable aspects of traditional chocolate production should continue. They had no intention of pausing or stopping their moves to improve sustainability despite the challenges of 2020.

What is the future for carbon emissions according to Barry Callebaut?

Photo Jenni Miska

When you consider that over half a million cocoa farmers are existing in a state of poverty this is a laudable and highly necessary approach to improve and further develop a sustainable supply chain. Not only this but Barry Callebaut also has an ambition to be carbon positive in just five years. This means that the company will store more carbon than it produces by 2025.

The question you might be asking is how they are going to achieve such a significant ambition?

Land use change is a way to reduce carbon emissions and also creating less within factories while also finding certified ingredients. Right now, more than 20 of its 61 processing plants are fully powered by renewable energy. Every part of the supply chain will not remain untouched by a fierce drive for carbon positivity.

It is hard work and requires considerable mapping and reporting

Photo Seyiram Kweku

Annually the company produce a report entitled Barry Callebaut’s Forever Chocolate Progress Report. This enables the organisation to understand whether growers’ activities are likely to contribute to deforestation and actually maps any farms that exist within 25kms of designated forest areas that are being protected. In 2019/20 the company mapped 52,558 of these farms. This represents an 11% increase from the previous year. In addition, they have distributed cocoa seedlings and almost 2 million shade trees.

Consumers have a thirst for knowledge, and this will inform their purchases and loyalties

These are impressive figures and as consumers become more used to interrogating the companies from whom they buy, these statistics will help to build a picture against which people will ultimately make consumer choices. We understand more than ever the interconnectedness of our lives and decision-making processes. Therefore, it is essential that manufacturing companies take a leaf from Barry Callebaut to create sustainable supply chains for everyone’s benefit.

This means that organisations large and small will be looking for the kind of passionate individuals keen to take practical steps towards sustainable supply chains, cleaner, more efficient production facilities and an understanding of the fragile eco system in which and manufacturing process exists. If you are looking for a complex hire within the food and drink industry do give me a call to arrange an initial conversation about how Meyrick Consulting might be able to help.


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