What is Cocoa Horizons?
Cocoa Horizons is an impact driven program focused on cocoa farmer prosperity and helping build self-sustaining farming communities that protect nature and children. The Cocoa Horizons Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization supervised by the Swiss Federal Foundation Supervisory Authority. It was established in 2015 by Barry Callebaut.
To improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development, which protect nature and children.
The challenges faced by cocoa farmers and their communities
Cocoa is typically produced by smallholder farmers in remote equatorial areas. Most of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, an area that faces the industry’s most vital sustainability challenges. Among them: limited knowledge and understanding of good agricultural practices; aging farms and depleted soil; the unpredictable effects of climate change; and a lack of financing options to invest in productivity activities.
Cocoa communities often lack basic infrastructure and services, including schools, literacy and vocational training, access to safe water, and basic healthcare services. Gender imbalance also affects the sustainability of cocoa farming communities, with women having limited opportunities to build skills and generate income.
Who runs the Foundation?
The Cocoa Horizons Foundation is led by a board of directors. Since 2019, it is composed of five directors, four of them independent and one appointed by Barry Callebaut. The board selects a General Manager who is in charge of the Foundation’s day-to-day business and partnerships with contributors, donors, and implementing partners.
Prior to the launch of the Foundation, Barry Callebaut engaged with multiple stakeholders including customers, competitors, retailers, academia, government agencies, industry associations and non-government organizations, via interviews and roundtables. The engagement guided the criteria for the launch of the Foundation and its key focus pillars to address the most material issues impacting the industry.
The most recent methodology also takes into consideration: ISO-CEN criteria, some customers' standards and input from NGO’s on environmental and community aspects.
The focus and methodology of the Foundation is assessed by the Cocoa Horizons board of directors. Additionally, Cocoa Horizons benefits from the bi-annual feedback of Barry Callebaut’s Sustainability Advisory Board of independent advisors.
The Cocoa Horizons Foundation collaborates with multiple partners:
- Key implementers of the program:
- Sustainable brands
- Donors and other partners
The program is open to any other third parties that are interested to join our sustainability journey.
Through Cocoa Horizons, data on the farms is collected to understand the unique needs of each farmer in order to develop tailored business plans to improve livelihoods, as well as to measure the impact of the activities funded by the Cocoa Horizons Foundation. Impact data will be assessed annually to ensure that the Cocoa Horizons methodology prescribes the best approach to build self-sustaining farming communities that protect nature and children. If the anticipated impact is not realized, the Cocoa Horizons Foundation will continuously improve upon its approach, to achieve its commitments on productivity, community and environment.
We are funded via three main sources:
- Through the customer premiums paid for sustainable HORIZONS chocolate and cocoa products.
- From contributions by donors and partners who are inspired to support the mission of the Foundation.
- From Barry Callebaut contributions.
Verifying our funding and activities
We are audited annually by a global audit firm. The activities and distribution of premiums of HORIZONS cocoa and chocolate products are also independently verified. Summary reports are posted on our website annually.
How do we allocate funds?
The Board approves a budget and activity plan for each financial year. The decisions the Board makes are firmly steered by the Foundation’s mission to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development. The allocation of Cocoa Horizons premiums is as follows for 2019/20*:
Cocoa Horizons recognized by the Sustainability Standards Map
Standards Map is a global public good which provides comprehensive, verified and transparent information on over 260 standards for environmental protection, worker and labour rights, economic development, quality and business ethics.