Traceability and verification

Our traceability approach

Since the introduction of our Farming Program in 2008, physical traceability of cocoa has been the starting point of our responsible cocoa supply chain. Traceability is a key principle of our cocoa sourcing strategy. To establish traceability from farm to first point of purchase, all farmers are registered, farm GPS point coordinates are taken, and baseline data about the farm and household is collected. We aim to achieve first mile traceability for 100% of cocoa products – beans, butter, powder, and chocolate mass – by 2025. To establish traceability along the supply chain up to our factory doors. We take a differentiated approach for cocoa beans and cocoa butter, due to their different supply chain characteristics.


Cocoa beans

For cocoa beans, Lindt & Sprüngli follows the "identity preserved" traceability approach. This means our cocoa beans are traceable from the farm, where we work directly with long-term dedicated farmer groups, to our factory doors. For cocoa beans, we conduct in-house traceability checks to ensure the volumes delivered come from the farmers of our own Farming Program. Each delivery of cocoa beans to Lindt & Sprüngli is accompanied by a traceability certificate to ensure that we purchase cocoa beans from farmers who are part of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program.  100% of our sourced cocoa beans are traceable and externally verified by an independent third party.

Cocoa butter

For our responsibly sourced cocoa butter, we aim for a physical traceability approach based on segregation: Conventional and sustainable cocoa are strictly separated and the origin of delivered butter batches are known when delivered to Lindt & Sprüngli. In the segregation model, beans delivered by the Lindt & Sprüngli farmer groups to the suppliers get mixed, at supplier level, with other beans originating from farmer groups who also participate in a verified sustainability program. This means that while all the cocoa butter delivered to Lindt & Sprüngli from a sustainability program under the segregation model originates from sustainable sources, we have no guarantee  that the cocoa beans delivered by our own farmer groups to the suppliers will end up in the cocoa butter we receive.

Cocoa powder

For cocoa powder, "segregation" is more difficult to achieve due to product complexity and quality specifications. Therefore, we aim to source all volumes with a Rainforest Alliance “mass balance” certification at a minimum. In 2023, the first volumes of Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa powder were sourced. Once all of our subsidiaries hold the Rainforest Alliance certification, we will switch to this new minimum requirement.

Our goal is to source all our cocoa products - beans, butter, powder and chocolate mass - through our Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program or other sustainability programs by 2025.


Our Farming Program builds on the principle of continuous improvement. Our monitoring and evaluation approach is based on multiple elements such as the monitoring of outputs, a review of the Program quality and verification of the Program implementation, and periodic impact assessments. We assess these elements related to both the farm and implementation partner, and carry out checks to verify traceability documents.

Our cocoa sourcing under our Farming Program and other sustainability programs is subject to external verification annually by an independent third party. For cocoa beans, external verification is conducted by the Earthworm Foundation, based on the Farming Program External Assessment Methodology. This enables a mutual learning process and direct engagement of Earthworm Foundation with farmers through individual meetings and focus groups to gather feedback on the support provided as part of the Program.

For cocoa butter, we are currently in the process of transitioning different sustainability programs to Rainforest Alliance certification. Where long-term agreements are in place and our Program is being implemented, certification is not intended to replace our Program, but serves as a basis and external verification scheme.

Impact assessments become increasingly important as the cocoa sector aims to design effective sustainability programs and comply with upcoming regulations. In 2019, Lindt & Sprüngli collaborated with the KIT Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) to conduct a first impact assessment. It was designed to measure our achievements and improvement opportunities to accelerate our efforts to achieve positive outcomes for farmers, their communities, and the environment. In 2023, jointly with KIT, we conducted a second evaluation of our Farming Program in Ghana, including a comparison with the 2019 data.

«Having the necessary distance to interpret the Farming Program, we are in a credible position to assess success, key learnings, challenges; and guiding Lindt & Sprüngli and its partners towards a deeper supply chain transformation.»

Bastien Sachet - CEO Earthworm Foundation