Improving coconut cultivation and farmer livelihoods

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Green Invest Asia, partners from AAK, FrieslandCampina, Harmless Harvest Thailand, Nestlé, and Unilever joined Barry Callebaut to sign the Sustainable Coconut charter for the coconut industry. The charter aims to improve farmer livelihoods, lessen the carbon footprint of coconuts, and improve supply to meet rising global demand.

Coconut consumption continues to grow globally, increasing its profile as a food alternative, but year-on-year rising demand risks emptying shelves of hundreds of coconut and coconut-oil-based products. Wide use of coconut in cosmetic, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical industries has driven rapid growth of the global coconut market. Any supply chain disruption might impact the products spanning food to pharmaceuticals.

The charter is an industry collaboration that defines coconut sustainability, and outlines focus areas, principles and sustainability programme goals and outcomes in coconut supply chains, which include improving smallholder farmers’ income and livelihoods, enhancing supply chain traceability, and preventing deforestation and mitigating climate change. It also aims to harmonise buyers’ requirements for supply chain partners.

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between seven corporates – Barry Callebaut, Bunge, FrieslandCampina, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Procter and Gamble, and Nestlé – and the German Development Agency (GIZ) will implement the charter to improve sustainability in the Philippines’ coconut supply chain, said Matthias Radek, chief advisor of agricultural projects for GIZ.

Massimo Selmo, global head of souring at Barry Callebaut, concluded: “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.”