Callebaut accomplishes its sustainability and Fairtrade programs through its program known as the Growing Great Chocolate Program. They work with cocoa farmer cooperatives in West Africa. The program is designed to work with the cooperatives to produce good quality sustainably grown cocoa and increase the earnings of the 60 participating coop’s (approximately 40,000 farmers).
Recently, tailwinds such as deteriorating soil, aging cocoa trees and farmers, and sub-standard farming practices have led to a decline in cocoa production. As such, Callebaut has begun working directly with the farmers to educate them on best farming practices, thus increasing the quality of the crops. In these farmer schools, they are taught the complex processes involved in cocoa harvesting, including soil management, bean fermentation, and drying.
Because Callebaut is working directly with the farmers, they also pay a fair price directly to them for their crops, cutting out the middlemen who frequently did not pay fairly for their beans. As a result of this partnership, not only has the quality of the cocoa crop improved and the quantity of production increased, but so has the standard of living for the farmers and their families.