Creating a fair and sustainable cocoa sector

Valrhona is keeping up its commitment to supporting cocoa suppliers

Valrhona has always placed great importance on both the quality and flavor of its chocolate and its commitment to creating a fair and sustainable cocoa industry that takes care of people and the planet. 

Valrhona has been a pioneer in this regard, creating an expert team of sourcers who are dedicated solely to its cocoa supplies and developing direct, long-term relationships with producer organizations. Because we work so closely with our suppliers around the world, Valrhona has been able to strengthen its cocoa expertise by developing terroirs, varieties and different cultivation techniques.

sourcer & producer of cocoa Valrhona

For many years now, Valrhona has been fostering and implementing numerous projects to make its cocoa supplies more sustainable and resilient :

  1. 100% of our cocoa comes from long-term partnership contracts with cooperatives or plantations, each one averaging over 8.5 years in length. 
    100  % of the cocoa beans sourced by Valrhona can be traced back to the producer.
    We are carrying out an ambitious mapping plan to identify protected areas and deforested zones. By 2022, 60% of cocoa plots had been mapped to ensure they were not in protected areas.
    We visit and audit each of our suppliers at least once a year.

Our level of commitment was confirmed when we were awarded the B Corp label for a second time.

Valrhona cocoa producer in Madagascar

Looking ahead to 2030

Valrhona is continuing and strengthening its actions for a fair and sustainable cocoa industry. In practice, this means increased action on key cocoa supply chain issues such as: 

  • Paying producers fair and equitable prices 
  • Combating forced labor and child labor 
  • Combating deforestation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Developing agroecological practices  

Valrhona is driven by the desire to do things better while refusing easy options, so it involves all its employees and stakeholders in implementing its action plans.  

malagasy cocoa valrhona

At Valrhona, we are aware that minimum prices are not enough to guarantee a decent standard of living, and we are acting accordingly.

In Ivory Coast, over the last five years Valrhona has bought its cocoa at a price averaging 34% more than the minimum guaranteed by the state. Valrhona also gives producers a premium based on quality. In Ghana, in 2022, the premium per bag was increased by 40% to help producers cope with local inflation.

sourceur and producer of Valrhona cocoa

In West Africa, the NGO International Cocoa Initiative estimates that 1.56 million children are forced to work alongside their families. At Valrhona, we are aware of the need to do better and make every effort to combat child labor. 

Valrhona has been committed to programs that facilitate and improve access to education since 2014.14 schools have been built and renovated in Ivory Coast, Ghana, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela supporting a total of 65 cohorts and 2,555 students.

School built by Valrhona in Ivory Coast

Valrhona relies on its long-term relationships with partners and producers as a means of supporting them in the fight against deforestation and global warming. We are committed to having no plots on protected land. By overlaying all our partner growers' plots onto each country’s official map, we can check that none are in a protected area.

At the same time, we are committed to reducing its carbon use across all emission scopes: we have a target of cutting our carbon emissions by 90% (compared with 2018) by 2050. So we have launched a program with the NGO Nitidæ to calculate our cocoa beans’ carbon footprint from the growing area itself. Since 2023, these field studies carried out and certified by the NGO have made it possible to survey, qualify and quantify the risk of deforestation over a 20-year period.

Belize Forest

At Valrhona, we know that agroecology is a priority if we are to sustain cocoa-growing over the long term, so we have a responsibility to help our producers to adopt this practice.

Since 2015, we have been a founding member of the Cacao Forest project, a pioneering multi-sector initiative that aims to build a sustainable cocoa industry through agroforestry.

Between 2015 and 2022, several agroforestry models were tested in the Dominican Republic, and the most successful ones were identified and ready to be rolled out across the country. Since 2023, the Cacao Forest program has been developing a proposal for Ivory Coast.

cocoa tree plantation in Madagascar

Traceability underpins all our policies and ambitions and is a prerequisite for any environmentally and socially responsible business. It enables us to monitor, strengthen and orient our actions.

100% of Valrhona cocoa beans are traced from the producer. To go further, Valrhona is committed to extending its plot-based traceability so that we can gain even more visibility over production areas. By the end of 2022, 60% of our bean harvest had been geolocated and mapped - that is 6,951 producers with over 11,441 hectares of mapped plots. 

Cocoa

Our experts testify

Through the portraits of our cocoa sourcers, experts and partners, discover some of the projects carried out in our chocolate factory or on plantations with our producer communities.

Traceability - Tilkal
Cocoa compliance - Florent Coste
Stéphane Sabourin & Carole Seignovert
Stéphane Sabourin
Nans Mouret x Nitidae
Cédric Robin x FEDCO
Julien Desmedt
Cédric Robin

Discover more about our partnerships and actions across the world

See our cocoa partners

Our other pillars