Kraft Foods today announced a major step forward in its long-standing support of sustainable cocoa farming. Based on pioneering work started in 2005 in the Cote d'Ivoire, the company has launched the first mainstream chocolate products in Europe to carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal. Additionally, it has committed to increase current purchases of cocoa beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms ten-fold by the end of 2012, to 30,000 tons.
Beginning in France and Belgium, Cote d'Or premium dark chocolate will now contain cocoa from farms that meet the sustainability standard of the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ program. Over the coming months, the certified Cote d'Or range will be rolled out to consumers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. It will also be made available to chocolate lovers in Sweden, Denmark and Finland under the Marabou brand; and using the Suchard brand in Austria and Switzerland.
The brands represent the first mainstream European chocolate to carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal. By the end of 2012, the company has committed to use only cocoa beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms across its entire Cote d'Or and Marabou ranges, equal to some 30,000 tons of beans.
This commitment results from a pioneering project with internationally respected partners. Since 2005, Kraft Foods has been working with the Rainforest Alliance, leading development organizations in Germany and the US - Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - as well as with the cocoa trader, Armajaro, to support sustainable cocoa production in the Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa.
The commitment also builds on Kraft Food's experience and long-standing collaboration with Rainforest Alliance to develop sustainable coffee growing for use in mainstream brands – a relationship that has resulted in the company becoming the world's leading buyer of coffee beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.
Edward Millard, Director for Sustainable Landscapes at the Rainforest Alliance, believes that taking Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa to mainstream brands is key to making a real difference.
"Our collaboration with Kraft Foods and grassroots groups in Cote d'Ivoire will result in long-term, positive changes in the lives of cocoa farmers, their families, communities and the ecosystems on which they depend," said Millard. "Working together, we are protecting water, wildlife and soils, while training a new generation of farmers in the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable agriculture."