My name is Pablo Ramirez and I work in the ethical sourcing team specifically focused on cocoa, tea and other agricultural ingredients. I am really excited to share with you our recent ethical sourcing activities for cocoa. Our program is called Cocoa Practices and like its big brother (C.A.F.E practices) it is comprehensive and contains more than 200 performance measurements to evaluate social, environmental and economic areas. A third party company called Scientific Certification Systems is in charge of auditing all the activities such as the training of the inspectors, the interpretation of the indicators, the visits and the final scores.
Baristas and customers often ask, “Do you actually have people visiting and walking the farms?” and the answer is we do. Cocoa Practices approved independent inspectors visit farms, collection points, farmer associations, cooperatives and cocoa processing plants in order to gather evidence about the compliance with the indicators. This is one key differentiation point from other systems out there.
Another important point is that our program is a verification system (not a certification system) geared towards improving sustainability at all levels in the supply chain – from the farm to Starbucks. That is why the inspectors visit all the players in the supply chain that are in contact with the cocoa that ends up in our stores. At the end of the verification process detailed reports with percent scores are given to all the entities; which help them identify their weaknesses and strengths. With this system, continuous improvement processes are in place with the objective of increasing the environmental, social, and economic performance scores and obtain a higher premium…. Yes, in most cases we pay a premium to the farmers who obtain higher scores or improve their scores year over year
Here are some pictures from the last verification trip to Colombia. Hope you enjoy!
The trails to in the cocoa plantation.
Open cocoa pods.
Unfermented cocoa beans from the pod.
Dried cocoa bean.
Dried cocoa beans.
Beans packaged in the warehouse.