Kevin, what exactly do you do in your job function?
I am responsible for managing the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program in Africa. As such, I provide guidance and advice to our cocoa suppliers, who implement the Farming Program on behalf of Lindt & Sprüngli. Further, I support suppliers in implementing the Program, for example by reviewing processes, developing tools and providing training of field staff. To supervise the progress of the Farming Program, I monitor the performance of the suppliers through the review of quarterly and annual reports and field visits. Finally, I am responsible for the cooperation with local stakeholders and act as the global topic lead for child labor for Lindt & Sprüngli.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I enjoy the fact that I can share my knowledge with others through training, guidance and assistance. Also, through this work, I can contribute to the development of African communities and positively impact the lives of thousands of people. Coming from a cocoa community myself, I enjoy meeting people, exchanging on their living and working conditions, and helping them find innovative solutions to the issues they face in their daily lives, based on my own experiences, those of my family and community members as well as my professional experience. In addition, my job offers me an amazing framework for learning.
Why did you decide to commit your career to sustainability?
I grew up in a modest family where even a daily meal was a luxury. With the death of my father when I was in primary school, I had to overcome various challenges to complete my education. From then on, I committed to dedicate my life to helping vulnerable families to improve their livelihoods as soon as I could. Later, as I began my professional career, I realized that this personal expectation could be achieved within the framework of corporate sustainability programs. I was therefore very excited when I was given the opportunity to start my sustainability journey in the cocoa sector with a focus on child labor issues in 2012 and to continue it with Lindt & Sprüngli in 2019.
What do you think the Farming Program is particularly good at? Or what are you most proud of in relation to the Farming Program?
The Farming Program is an impact driven program characterized by co-creation, cooperation, and collaboration with implementing partners to make a change in communities. It focuses its activities and investments on building the resilience of farmers’ households and their communities to improve their livelihoods. The Farming Program aims to make real change in communities – and this makes me proud.
Which Farming Program origin country fascinates you the most and why?
I will say Ghana because in this country, the Farming Program is one of the biggest cocoa sustainability programs. It supports a large number of farmers and cocoa communities across the country. In addition, I see the Farming Program growing and piloting new solutions year after year – it is a learning journey for everyone and continuously improving.
If you had a lot of time, what would you like to do or try out?
If I had a lot of time, I would establish a community development learning center where people have the opportunity to learn by doing. This center would provide services that empower communities to take ownership of their development in terms of social inequalities and food self-sufficiency and become more independent and with possibilities to make their own choices. It would also propose solutions for improving the governance system in rural communities to build healthier and more sustainable communities in Africa.
What would be your dream guest list for a dinner?
I will select people unknown to the public, who I am close to, who inspire me every day and impact my life with their commitment for others, their sense of sharing, their courage and their passion for a job well done. They are my heroes.
1. A community facilitator from my village (Laurent Kamenan Kadjo)
2. My wife (Euphrasie Koicou-Angban Amany)
3. My niece (Pauline-Angèle Bousson Aya)
4. My older brother (dead) (Benson Bosson Aka)
5. A friend living in Paris (Roland Kouassi Angoua)
If you were a Lindt chocolate, which one would it be and why?
I would select to be the Lindt “Pralinés assortis” because this product brings together a lot of flavors and has been prepared with the utmost care. Like this product, I am a summary of experience acquired through special care aiming to offer the greatest good.