Published on 10/3/20

Long-term partnerships: Valrhona's approach

Shared values: the basis of a partnership

When Valrhona and its suppliers share values, a vision, and a mutual desire to grow together, partnerships are signed for a minimum term of three years.
Several years can therefore pass before a supplier becomes a Valrhona partner, as we need to be certain that we share the same long-term vision for the future of our partnership and the cocoa industry.
Before becoming our cocoa partner, a supplier must sign our Responsible Purchasing Charter. Through this Charter, our suppliers undertake to respect the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact initiative, including responsible environmental management, respect for human rights and the prohibition of child labor. To date, 100% of our cocoa producer partners have signed the Charter.

Our long-term partnerships are multi-year agreements with a minimum of 3 years that we sign jointly with each of our partner farmers (private companies or cooperatives). They set a framework for a partnership that covers several disciplines, from the quality of our cocoa trees to the development of the soil, to the implementation of projects for the benefit of the communities we work with. They demonstrate a mutual desire to learn and make progress together towards greater sustainability and resilience. Every country, every partnership and every situation is unique and is based on its history, its risks and its needs: education, health, income diversification, the preservation of rare species, the fight against deforestation, etc. 

  • In 2021, the partnerships in Belize, Peru and São Tomé were all renewed for 10 years.
    The average duration of all our partnerships is now more than 8 years.
  • In 2021, 100% of our cocoa beans came from a partnership.
    Our sourcing staff continue to monitor developments in the cocoa sector and explore new sources and soil types to reach
    those who make or are planning to make the magical ingredient that is cocoa!

Partnership conditions: mutual interests

For suppliers, these long-term commitments guarantee sales over several years, providing them with greater visibility over their income and enabling them to invest in their production activities, their communities and the environment. For Valrhona, these partnerships are a way of guaranteeing the quality and supply of our cocoa.

Partnerships also reflect the true value inherent to terroirs and producers’ own expert skills, and give us the opportunity to get involved in community support and development projects. Developing long-term relationships enables us to invest in infrastructure, improve growing practices and work on post-harvest operations such as bean fermentation and drying. Training can also be offered to guarantee quality levels remain consistent.

Some partnerships give us exclusive rights: for instance, to a specific plantation, as has been the case at the Xibun River Estate in Belize since 2014. Other partnerships allow us to protect rare cocoa varieties, such as the Gran Blanco cocoa produced by just three communities in Peru’s Bigote valley. Valrhona has had exclusive access to this cocoa since 2013.