Valrhona joins the B Corporation community for a more sustainable cacao production

Valrhona joins the B Corporation community for a more sustainable cacao production

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“The current crisis forces us to rethink our business models, way of life and the world of tomorrow. Even if recent months have shown us that we are capable of changing very quickly, the biggest transformation is still to come. Our organizations must no longer try to be the best in the world, but must also be the best FOR the world.

“Valrhona has been engaged in the responsible transformation of its economic and organizational model for several years. The company is working toward a just and sustainable cacao sector, takes care of the planet and pushes boundaries in gastronomy so that it is more responsible.

“Today, after almost three years of following a strict process, Valrhona has earned the B Corporation® certification. This rewards the companies that are the most committed in the world to performance, transparency, and social and environmental responsibility. This distinction is recognition for our sustainable development strategy, Live Long, and our company-wide mission, ‘Together, good becomes better.’

“Profit, the planet and humans are all tied together when it comes to a company’s livelihood. B CorpTM is the approach for progress that I have wanted Valrhona to be a part of. It’s a true guide for challenging ourselves and creating a positive impact for the world.” – Clémentine Alzial, CEO of Valrhona.

A collective movement to make the world a better place

Launched in the United States in 2006, the B Corp community brings together companies around the world who place their societal mission at the core of their purpose. They meet the most demanding standards in terms of social and environmental impact. Valrhona has therefore joined the ranks of Patagonia, Innocent, The Body Shop, and more.

For each of these companies, the challenge is not just to be the best in the world but to be the best for the world, through a proactive and responsible approach. B Corporation certification measures company performance in five areas: governance, workers, customers, community and environment. To qualify, a company must take into account all of these dimensions, and not simply shareholder value. Information is scored on a 200-point scale, with a minimum of 80 points required to receive the precious certification.

With 88.3 points, Valrhona is now the largest chocolate maker for professionals in the world to earn the B Corporation certification, an impressive performance as the average score for participating companies is 50.9 points. Of the 80,000 organizations worldwide that have undertaken the evaluation, only 3,200 have received the certification, representing 130 industries and 60 countries.

Embodying positive change for the world

As part of the B Corporation certification framework, Valrhona has changed its articles of incorporation, adding to them that the company will take into account the impact of its decisions on the planet and stakeholders, such as employees, clients and suppliers. The objective is to place social and environmental requirements at the same level as its profits. The following tangible actions have made it possible for Valrhona to obtain the certification:

  • Long-term partnerships between Valrhona and its cacao partners: Valrhona guarantees 100% traceability of cacao to each of its 18,208 producers, implementation of a “living income” approach to ensure they receive a fair compensation despite price fluctuation, and community support projects, including building schools and providing access to clean water, in order to improve living conditions for cacao producers and people in the surrounding villages.
  • A lower environmental footprint for the company: Since 2013, Valrhona has reduced the carbon emissions of the production facility in Tain l’Hermitage by 57%.
  • Equal gender representation and well-being at work: 55% of employees at Valrhona are women, including the managing director, and the company has been a “Great Place to Work” since 2012.
  • Company mission: Actions to create a just and sustainable cacao sector, and practices to inspire more responsible gastronomy are at the core of Valrhona’s purpose. Valrhona has been striving for decades to promote fairness, environmental responsibility, and ethical business practices in chocolate production and the food industry as a whole.

A roadmap for transformation

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While the B Corporation certification is certainly recognition for Valrhona, it’s also an opportunity to accelerate the company’s roadmap and rethink tomorrow. To keep their certifications, B Corp businesses must continue their actions over time and build on their progress as their status is re-evaluated every three years. To make its business model more resilient, Valrhona has defined its highest priority objectives for the future:

  • Prepare for the consequences of climate change by becoming carbon neutral throughout the company’s entire value chain by 2025 as well as rethinking its flows. Purchasing cacao from all over the world, transforming it in France, and then sending it around the world again is a challenge. In the future, it will be necessary to continue to reduce the impact of downstream goods while also rethinking production sites. The company’s goal is to make its production facility in Tain l’Hermitage carbon neutral in 2020 and to achieve carbon neutrality for its entire value chain, from plantation to the plate, by 2025.
  • Deliver chocolate while minimizing or eliminating packaging. Valrhona has reduced the weight of its primary packaging by 30%, but has not yet found a functional, recyclable material that can guarantee an excellent level of chocolate preservation and therefore quality. Research is ongoing and active with suppliers. In the coming months, the company will conduct testing in France to deliver chocolate couvertures to clients using washable and reusable trays.
  • Fight for cacao that is cultivated using agroforestry. Valrhona works to promote agroforestry, a cacao cultivation method that respects soil by mixing different tree species and making it possible for producers to diversify their revenues. Valrhona’s ambition is to help 100% of its 18,208 producers towards agroforestry practices between now and 2025.
  • Help the sector to adopt more responsible practices. For its clients, Valrhona is making every effort to promote, together with chefs, a food industry that is more responsible, in particular by sharing best practices, including food waste reduction, sourcing quality, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, and traceability.
  • Improve the diversity policy. Diversity in voices, cultures and backgrounds is a success factor for thriving in a world that is ever more uncertain and changing. Valrhona is committed to  strengthening its diversity policy as part of hiring and career development.

By drawing on the dynamic behind the B Corporation® certification, Valrhona is ensuring that it can fulfill its company mission to make the world of cacao, chocolate and gastronomy change, with and for its employees, cacao producers and partnering chefs.

Continuous improvement

To maintain the B Corporation certification, companies must continue their actions and are re-evaluated every three years. Each time, they must obtain at least 80 points among requirements that are becoming increasingly strict.

Valrhona’s plans include further reducing its environmental impact and improving the support it brings to clients to develop more responsible practices themselves. The company’s goal is to make its production facility in Tain l’Hermitage carbon neutral in 2020 and to achieve carbon neutrality for its entire value chain, from plantation to the plate, by 2025.

Different initiatives have been launched, particularly in terms of environmental packaging design and recyclability, as well as continued reduction of greenhouse gases, waste and energy, and water use.

For its clients, Valrhona is making every effort to promote, together with chefs, a food industry that is more responsible, in particular by sharing best practices, including food waste reduction, sourcing quality, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, and traceability.

By drawing on the dynamic of its B Corporation certification, Valrhona is making it possible to fulfill its company mission, that of changing the world of cacao, chocolate and the food industry. 

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