With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Green Invest Asia, leaders from AAK, FrieslandCampina, Harmless Harvest Thailand, Nestlé, and Unilever joined Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, to sign the coconut industry’s first Sustainable Coconut Charter. The charter aims to improve farmer livelihoods, lessen coconuts’ carbon footprint, and boost supply to meet rising global demand.
Coconut consumption continues to grow globally, increasing its profile as a safe food alternative. Still, year-on-year, rising demand risks emptying shelves of hundreds of coconut and coconut-oil-based products. The wide use of coconut in cosmetic, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical industries has driven the global coconut market’s rapid growth. Any supply chain disruption could affect hundreds of products spanning food to pharmaceuticals.
“The charter is an important milestone on the way to improving coconut cultivation and farmer livelihoods. I am pleased we have succeeded in bringing together key players and stakeholders at one table. This is a challenge that must be tackled together to be successful,” says Massimo Selmo, global head of Sourcing at Barry Callebaut.
“We are proud to have supported this valuable charter. The US government prioritizes working through the private sector to catalyze market reform and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm our climate. Guiding tools, such as this charter, create a landscape approach for sustainability in Asia. USAID stands ready to scale this initiative and look forward to more signatories joining,” Steven G Olive, mission director of USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia.
The Charter is an industry collaboration that defines coconut sustainability and outlines focus areas, principles, and sustainability program goals and outcomes in coconut supply chains, including improving smallholder farmers’ income and livelihoods, enhancing supply chain traceability and preventing deforestation and mitigating climate change. It also aims to harmonize buyers’ requirements for supply chain partners.
Public-Private Partnership to implement the Charter
A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between seven corporates (Barry Callebaut, Bunge, Friesland Campina, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Procter and Gamble, and Nestlé), and GIZ (German Development Agency) will implement the Charter to improve sustainability in the Philippines’ coconut supply chain, said Matthias Radek, GIZ’s chief advisor of Agricultural Projects.
Mathieu Chaumont from Harmless Harvest, a US-headquartered company that sells organic coconut water, explained how regenerative agriculture improves soil quality and combats global warming.
Any individual or organization committed to the charter’s ambitions and principles and willing to contribute to the on-going development of more sustainable practices in the coconut industry, including attending an annual roundtable consultation, is invited as signatories.