Frequently asked questions
As one of the few global chocolate manufacturers, Lindt & Sprüngli produces chocolate products from “bean to bar”. It all starts with purchasing the cocoa beans through the own sustainability program for cocoa beans, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, continues with producing the cocoa mass in our own production facilities, and extends to processing the chocolate and ultimately market and distribute the quality products. The cocoa used is decisive for the quality and taste of the chocolate, which is why Lindt & Sprüngli has such high standards for raw materials used and processing start as early as with the cocoa. For Lindt & Sprüngli, “bean to bar” production forms the basis of a sustainable and traceable cocoa bean supply chain and is therefore a responsibility from the very beginning.
An exception is our subsidiary Russell Stover which buys chocolate and chocolate products.
Visit this page to find out more about the steps in Lindt & Sprüngli’s chocolate production.
In 2008, we have launched the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program in Ghana and in the subsequent years in all our other cocoa bean sourcing origins (Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea) to improve the livelihoods of our cocoa farmers, their families and communities. One of our top priorities is to ensure that they are able to benefit directly from our financial support.
With the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program for cocoa beans, we work towards our vision of “decent and resilient livelihoods for today’s and future cocoa farmers and their families, and a sustainable intensification of agriculture while securing the supply of high-quality cocoa beans from a stable base of farmers” (see more in our Theory of Change).
The Program enables us to trace cocoa beans back to their origin (according to traceability standard “identify preserved”) and support farmers and their communities according to their specific needs. It empowers farmers to manage their farms in accordance with sound agricultural, social, ecological, and economic practices and to increase productivity. The engagement also targets the diversification of incomes and improved resilience of farmers and their smallholdings.
All this is achieved by the four pillars of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program:
- Traceability and farmer organization
- Training and knowledge transfer
- Farmer investments and community development
- Verification and continuous progress (via internal monitoring system and external auditing and verification by The Earthworm Foundation)
The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program is financed by price premiums paid for every ton of cocoa beans sourced, as well as contributions from The Lindt Cocoa Foundation. Local partners implement the Program in the field with a team of dedicated field staff. In every origin the Program is tailor-made to tackle the sustainability issues locally.
Since 2020, 100% of our cocoa beans are traceable and externally verified. This is a major step toward our target to source all cocoa products (beans, butter, powder, chocolate and, for Russell Stover, chocolate) through sustainability programs by 2025.
Yes. Our own sustainability program for cocoa beans, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, is in place in all countries we source cocoa beans from (Ghana, Ecuador, Madagascar, Dominican Republic and Papua New Guinea).
We achieved a 100% traceable and externally verified cocoa bean supply chain by end of 2020.
Currently, the following Lindt & Sprüngli brands use cocoa beans sourced through our sustainability program, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program: Lindt, Caffarel, Ghirardelli, Küfferle and Hofbauer.
Our main cocoa commitment: By 2025, 100% of cocoa products (beans, butter, powder, and, for Russell Stover, chocolate) will be sourced through sustainability programs.
An important milestone was already reached: We achieved a 100% traceable and externally verified cocoa bean supply chain by end of 2020.
Cocoa beans are the heart of our chocolates. Knowing which of the many different origins of cocoa beans will best contribute to the distinctive taste of a product is a skill that we have perfected over time.
A fundamental distinction is made between consumer and fine flavor cocoa. Consumer cocoa is cocoa with a robust flavor. It accounts for the largest share (90-95%) of total global cocoa production and is farmed mainly in West Africa. Lindt & Sprüngli uses Forastero beans (consumer cocoa), exclusively from Ghana.
The remaining 5-10% of worldwide cocoa harvests are fine flavor cocoa. Fine flavor cocoa is a high-quality cocoa with nuanced, fine aroma. It is mainly farmed in Latin America and the Caribbean. Lindt & Sprüngli uses fine flavor cocoa beans (Criollo and Trinitario) from Ecuador, Madagascar, Dominican Republic and Papua New Guinea.
Our own sustainability program, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, is in place in all countries we source cocoa beans from.
We achieved a 100% traceable and externally verified cocoa bean supply chain by end of 2020.
For us, traceability begins on the cocoa farm and does not end until the beans reach our production sites. We select only cocoa beans from countries and farmers which are part of our own sustainability program – the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. For cocoa beans, Lindt & Sprüngli follows the "identity preserved" traceability approach. This highest level of traceability guarantees that the cocoa beans from the Farming Program are always physically processed and transported separately from all other beans and can be traced back to their origin. The traceability of our cocoa bean supply chain is the key foundation of our Program for improving living conditions in the growing countries in the long term. As a bean to bar manufacturer, we have built up extensive expertise, in areas ranging from the selection of high-quality beans and technological know-how in the processing of our own cocoa mass to chocolate production at our own factories. This is a differentiating feature that still distinguishes us as a premium manufacturer today.
We are proud to have achieved a 100% traceable and externally verified cocoa bean supply chain by end of 2020. Traceability is crucial to have a real impact. We need to know who produces our cocoa and what the conditions on the ground are to be able to support farmers and their communities with the right actions.
As part of its internal monitoring policy, Lindt & Sprüngli tracks the ongoing progress in social, ecological, agricultural, and economic practices. The external review by an independent third-party organization (Earthworm Foundation) evaluates Lindt & Sprüngli's entire Farming Program, including the internal performance monitoring system. It gives recommendations to improve and further develop the Farming Program. The internal monitoring of farmers’ practices, combined with the external review of the Program, represents a kind of joint verification. This makes it possible to monitor the implementation of the Program and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the activities. Ultimately, this system helps us to ensure that we have a positive influence on sustainable agricultural development, particularly in terms of the livelihoods of farmers and their families and that we continuously improve the Program.
There are many ways to be engaged in sustainable and responsible cocoa sourcing practices. This can include introducing responsible purchasing practices, buying certified raw materials or implementing individual projects. We believe the key to a more sustainable food sector is to combine different approaches. The basis of our engagement are responsible purchasing practices. This means that we have long-term partnerships with our suppliers, which allows us to work with a stable farmer base over many years. Second, it is important to have a sustainability program (own or certification), which covers 100% of our raw materials, not just a small part. We have achieved the 100% traceability and verification goal for cocoa beans in 2020 and are working towards 100% sustainable cocoa butter, cocoa powder and chocolate by 2025.
Lindt & Sprüngli shares the goals of the industry, governmental and non-governmental organizations (such as World Cocoa Foundation, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, etc) for a sustainable cocoa production. We appreciate their contributions to improving living and working conditions, introducing better farming practices, fostering biodiversity and eliminating the worst types of child labor. Where appropriate and possible, we collaborate with them as partners.
Nevertheless, Lindt & Sprüngli prefers to go its own way. Therefore, we chose to build up our own sustainability program for cocoa beans, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, mainly for the following reasons:
- We consider our control over every step of the production chain as the perfect base to ensure a sustainable sourcing model.
- Our sourcing model targets our entire cocoa bean supply and is not limited to single products or product groups.
- The farmers, their families and the village communities are the focus of our efforts. We therefore want to ensure that wherever possible they benefit directly from our financial support.
An exception is Russell Stover, which buys chocolate as well as chocolate products and includes Fairtrade certified products (Russell Stover Joy Bites).
We publish our progress annually and use The Earthworm Foundation to independently verify our progress. The results of the external assessment are published on the Earthworm Website. For selected country of origins, we mandate credible research organizations to survey the farmers and assess the impact of our Program on the farmers, their families and communities.
We are printing it on our products (except white chocolate products) and are integrating this continuously.
At Lindt & Sprüngli, we are resolutely turned towards the search for sustainable solutions to offer decent and resilient livelihoods of todays and future cocoa farmers and their families in the countries of origin and ensure sustainable intensification of agriculture.
We recognize the unfortunate reality that globally millions of smallholder farmers are living in poverty, often caught in a vicious cycle of poverty. At the same time, poverty is the root cause for many other sustainability issues, such as deforestation. With the production of chocolate, our company has significant social and environmental impacts related to the cultivation, processing, and transport of raw and packaging materials. Sourcing these materials sustainably is of particular importance to Lindt & Sprüngli. We constantly observe and review environmental and human rights risks associated with our sourced raw and packaging materials and adopt our sourcing policies accordingly.
We are convinced that Lindt & Sprüngli – as other companies – plays an important role in supporting households involved in our supply chains to end poverty and to achieve a living income. Together with other critical actors, such as our suppliers, governments, NGOs, other supply chain partners, researchers, farmers, etc. we work on these topics.
Of special importance for a chocolate company is of course the sourcing of cocoa.
We chose to build up our own sustainability program for cocoa beans, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. With the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program for cocoa beans we work towards our vision of “decent and resilient livelihoods of today’s and future cocoa farmers and their families, and a sustainable intensification of agriculture while securing the supply of high-quality cocoa beans from a stable base of farmers” (see more in our Theory of Change). In this blog entry we also reflect on the importance of net-income in this discussion and present how the Program aims to achieve higher net-income.
The Program enables us to trace cocoa beans back to their origin and support farmers and their communities according to their specific needs. It empowers farmers to manage their farms in accordance with sound agricultural, social, ecological, and economic practices and to increase productivity. The engagement also targets the diversification of incomes and improved resilience of farmers and their farms.
Since 2008 Lindt & Sprüngli is supporting cocoa farmers and their communities in Ghana, where we source all our consumer cocoa beans from, through our own cocoa bean sourcing program – the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program. The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program follows a holistic approach and aims to create decent and resilient livelihoods for current and future cocoa-growing families and sustainable agricultural intensification.
The Program consists of different elements such as farmer trainings, investments in community infrastructure, and fostering income diversification to ultimately increase the net income of farmers, their families, and communities. The Program is funded with a special sustainability premium and additional funds from the Lindt Cocoa Foundation. We also support the governments’ efforts to contribute to improved livelihoods of cocoa farmers with the Living Income Differential (LID). We have already purchased cocoa with full LID pricing and will be continuing to do so.
Lindt & Sprüngli strongly condemns all forms of child labor.
By improving the livelihoods of farmers and their communities, the risk of child labor can be reduced. This is why the goal of our sustainability program for cocoa beans, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, is to improve farmers’ livelihoods. Further, with the focus on traceability and verification within our Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, we are able to identify potential cases of child labor and remediate them.
As part of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, we have defined clear guidelines and an action plan on combatting child labor, which are published on our website and described in detail in our annually published Sustainability Report. Our Community Child Protection System (CCPS) is a community-based approach that focuses on the close collaboration with community members and public institutions, provides holistic preventive measures and covers main salient children’s rights to secure an environment conducive to the children’s protection. The system is implemented through monitoring, awareness and resilience building for farmers, workers, their households and community members. Through this system, we are not reinventing the wheel, but reorienting our approach and reorganizing our interventions to more effectively take into account the protection of children's rights in our supply communities.
Lindt & Sprüngli monitors its chocolate through extensive laboratory testing of cocoa beans to detect possible residues of more than 570 different types of pesticides. Through the training provided as part of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program, we promote improved farming practices that reduce the need for pesticides in cocoa production and control pests using natural methods. Additionally, farmers are educated about the correct application of inputs. As part of the farmer investments, farmers receive solely organic inputs for their cocoa plantations.
Lindt & Sprüngli is aware of the problem of deforestation in cocoa production and is committed to preventing deforestation in the agricultural supply chains for the production of our chocolate products.
As a member of the “Cocoa & Forests Initiative” (CFI), we are committed to working together with other industry partners to stop deforestation for cocoa production. To address this challenge, we have developed and published a No-Deforestation and Agroforestry Action Plan for all countries we source cocoa beans from. “No-Deforestation & Agroforestry Action Plans” are an integral part of our Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program.
Adapted to the respective local context, our activities are focused on the following main goals:
– No sourcing of cocoa beans from protected areas
– No expansion of cocoa cultivation land into areas defined by the High Carbon Stock Approach or equivalent
– Agroforestry systems for cocoa production
– Support for protection, conservation and reforestation of community forests
For more Information, our “No-Deforestation & Agroforestry Action Plan” and annual progress can be found here.
In addition, the promotion of biodiversity using ecologically sound cultivation methods and the promotion of cocoa diversity are also key elements of the Lindt & Sprüngli Sustainability Plan and Farming Program.