07 Apr 2020

Ferrero is partnering with Earthworm Foundation on its hazelnut responsible sourcing

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Ferrero is pleased to announce that we are working together with Earthworm Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on positively improving value chains, on our hazelnut sourcing. Hazelnuts are a characteristic ingredient in Ferrero products and as a larger hazelnut user we are committed to contributing to driving sustainable changes in the hazelnut value chain. 

Earthworm Foundation has assessed Ferrero’s responsible sourcing programme for hazelnuts, including carrying out three field visits in Turkey and Italy. This enabled them to identify key challenges, as well as gain a better understanding of Ferrero’s current programme, which includes a team of 120 people who work with farmers on good agricultural and social practices every day. 

The field visits included four days in Turkey’s Eastern and Western Black Sea regions during the harvest season. There, to gain a better understanding of the social challenges around harvesting hazelnuts, staff from Earthworm Foundation and Ferrero spent time interviewing and speaking with farmers, seasonal labourers, labour brokers, village heads, local project partners and other actors related to the value chain.

Much of what was learnt through these visits and interviews is representative of the social challenges of many commodity supply chains across the globe. Examples of good practice were also observed, such as some schooling projects for children and initiatives to reduce workers’ living expenses.

Based on the findings, actions have been recommended to address the opportunities and challenges linked to our hazelnut value chain. These include continuing to strengthen the relationships Ferrero has fostered with key stakeholders in the hazelnut community such as government, suppliers, farmers and NGOs to develop effective multi-stakeholder solutions and continuing to build the capacity of our social experts to provide the best structure and support at farms. 

Over the coming year, we will work closely with Earthworm Foundation to evolve our Hazelnut Responsible Sourcing Approach, to roll this out on the ground in collaboration with hazelnut farmers and various other stakeholders. Essential to our work together will be the ideas of innovation and value creation to continue to tackle the root causes of the issues and to ensure environmental and social practices are continuously being improved in the value chain. 

“As with any agricultural product, there can be environmental and social issues when it comes to sourcing hazelnuts,” says Boris Saraber, Director of Operations at Earthworm Foundation. “Our role, as it is with all our members, is not just to assess operations, but to work practically in finding solutions on the ground, and importantly, assume the position of critical contributor in being honest about what is needed to create deep, lasting change. We are pleased to be working with Ferrero to continue their journey and support their strong commitment to drive sustainable impact.” 

Based on the findings and recommendations, Ferrero and Earthworm Foundation will work together to look broadly at the production landscape and explore collaborations with others to ensure long-term sustainability in an environment that works for all. We will also engage with our suppliers so that they too can be drivers of change in the value chain. 

“One of the principles in the way Ferrero operates is a commitment to continuous improvement. Our objective is to relentlessly pursue a sustainable approach with economic, social and environmental conditions in place,” says Marco Gonçalves, Ferrero’s Chief Procurement & Hazelnut Company Officer. “Our partnership with Earthworm Foundation will require us to work intensively together to develop strategic solutions in order to drive long-lasting impact in the hazelnut value chain.”