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Announcing new Cocoa Trading Director & Group Deputy MDs

 

We are pleased to announce changes in the organisation of the Touton Group, materialised by the nominations of:

20220831 Visual New leadership

Our operating environment is transforming deep and fast across all tropical agricultural commodities supply chains. To effectively respond to these new challenges, we are strengthening and developing our leadership team. We intend to further embed sustainability and innovative approaches within our strategic and top managerial processes. We are infusing the energy and creativity of new proficient talents to complement our historic expertise and lead our development.

Under the leadership of Mr. Patrick de Boussac, CEO, and Mr. Olivier Lieutard, Deputy CEO, Eric, Joseph, and Antoine will bring novel perspectives into our core operations.

  • Eric Guimberteau has been with Touton for more than thirty years. He worked in cocoa trading in Singapore throughout the 1990s and took part in our adventure with grain trading in 2006. He then returned, in the early 2010s to Touton’s headquarters in France to head the Cocoa Beans department, which he and his team, led to the success we know today.
Eric will remain strongly involved within Touton with project-specific responsibilities and providing strategic advice related to our cocoa business. 
  • Joseph Larrose is the architect of Touton Group’s sustainable sourcing, a pillar of our business model. For the past 12 years, he has assembled and managed an international team of 150 experts to deliver impact-led sustainability programs and accelerate the digitalisation of our sourcing operations.

In his new role, Joseph will guide and oversee our supply chain operations and services across all the commodities traded by the Group (cocoa, coffee, and ingredients), ensuring they meet the highest level of compliance, sustainability, and quality. He will lead the innovation strategy across the Group’s processes and business units.

  • Antoine Delsart brings more than 10 years of experience within the Group, with expertise in cocoa and coffee trading activities in various regions. As Director of Touton Far East in Singapore, he successfully led the trading and execution team through the pandemic and freight crisis, whilst developing innovative targeted solutions to meet global customers' supply challenges. Back in Bordeaux, he has been preparing to take on his new responsibilities, in close collaboration with the cocoa team and Eric Guimberteau, former Director of the Cocoa Department.

Antoine will now lead all the different functions of the Cocoa Department as in Trade, Middle and Back office, Freight and Logistics as well as Research. 

We invite you to join us in congratulating Eric, Joseph, and Antoine for their new positions and wishing them all success.

CO2 emissions: getting the full picture

The Touton group is currently working on finalizing its first carbon footprint assessment. Gaining a clear picture of the nature and sources of GHG emissions generated by the trade of tropical agricultural commodities is the mandatory first step towards building an evidence-based, impactful, and conscious plan to fight climate change.

Even though the group has been running climate positive sustainability programs for many years, the decision to evaluate CO2 emissions, across the whole life cycle – scope 1, 2, and 3 – of all its products, indicates a distinct move to better manage, control, and eventually reduce its emissions, from the seedlings to the doorsteps of roasters and processors. Touton’s management has mandated Utopies, a leading French consultancy that supports companies’ transformation, to run this first assessment and help define the group’s forthcoming climate-positive action plan in 2022. In the following interview, Antoine Joint, Strategy Director Climate & Biodiversity at Utopies, and Joseph Larrose, Head of Sustainability at Touton, give a sneak peek into the early top findings of the group’s carbon audit and explain what the next steps will be.

 Why did Touton decide to embark into an exhaustive carbon assessment now?

Joseph LARROSE (Head of Sustainability, Touton Group): Addressing climate change and deforestation-related issues is something that we have been doing for a long time at Touton, through our sustainability strategy, especially in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. From implementing landscape approaches, Climate Smart Cocoa, and agroforestry programs, to running extensive Deforestation Risk Assessments or joining the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, we have worked to build more resilient cocoa, coffee, and ingredients supply chains. However, until now, we had never formalized our impact – either positive or negative - through the prism of actual carbon emissions.

The latest market, regulatory and societal developments provided a clear signal that quantifying the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the full spectrum of our activities had become a requirement. The final objective is to define a more targeted and ambitious strategy to reduce our company’s contribution to global warming.

How do Touton’s carbon emissions structure and analysis compare with the rest of the sector?

Antoine JOINT (Strategy Director Climate & Biodiversity at Utopies): The volumes and structure of Touton’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emerge as coherent compared with other agri-food companies, especially cocoa, coffee, and ingredients traders. This means that Utopies’ findings are valid but also that Touton is performing in line with its peers in the sector. 

It is important to note that Touton chose to analyze both its direct emissions (scope 1 – company’s own infrastructures) and indirect emissions (scope 2 & 3, including factory production, transport, or land use). This is significant as it determines the level of understanding, and eventually, of responsibility and ambition, an actor is prepared to take.Scope 1 to 3 GHG PROTOCOL

In the agri-food sector, like in textile, activities happening upstream - including the local production and transport of agricultural goods across long routes - usually account for a significant part of companies’ total greenhouse gas emissions. Those are also usually the hardest ones to tackle as they don’t directly depend on the organization itself.

What are the key findings emerging from the assessment?

Antoine JOINT: Considering the massive volumes of cocoa and coffee purchased by Touton from millions of smallholder farmers, it comes as no surprise that most of the company’s emissions come from its scope 3. In this case, GHG emissions are mostly generated by the upstream agricultural process related to the land-use change, meaning the conversion of a piece of land used by humans, from one purpose to another (e.g., from tropical forests to plantations).

Conversely, we witness the very low impact of transport emissions for cocoa and coffee (less than 5%). Transport for those commodities is mostly maritime, which on average emits 250 times less CO2 per ton than aircraft. The same is not true for Touton’s ingredient trade, like Vanilla. Dominant air transport and inhouse conditioning in Bordeaux (France) translate into higher direct emissions, though relatively low volumes at the group level.

In terms of geography, emissions mostly originate from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, which is in line with the high volumes of cocoa sourced in those countries.

Which are the next steps?

Joseph LARROSE: We are moving soon into the most challenging but also exciting part of the process. Accompanied by Utopies, we will mobilize Toutons’ management and employees to build our action plan to reduce emissions across all 3 scopes and formalize our engagement with a clear carbon reduction trajectory. On the implementation part, we are keeping all teams, across departments and countries, engaged by using a digital application to continuously monitor our performance. Timing-wise, we are aiming to finalize our assessment and roadmap by mid-2022.

Considering the prominence of scope 3 emissions, we aim to improve our own data and mapping monitoring systems to further prevent deforestation. We will also look at integrating the data coming from our reforestation, agroforestry, and climate-friendly efforts into the assessment to add further granularity and accuracy, lessening our reliance on data proxies. These are services that we are hoping to eventually develop and offer to our clients. This way, manufacturers can gain a better understanding of their own scope 3 impacts, and work with us on more effective carbon Insetting mitigation activities.

What will be the main factors for success?

Antoine JOINT: A major determinant for success will be the comprehensive engagement from Touton’s top leadership to operational teams, around the world. All aspects of the business will need to work collaboratively to turn this exercise into a meaningful, positive company and supply chain transformation.

The collaboration will also be paramount across the whole supply chain. From farmers to processors, governments, financiers, innovators, or transporters, all stakeholders need to chip in. This is especially true when it comes to fixing the major carbon challenge of all for Touton - and for the cocoa sector in general - fighting deforestation in a highly fragmented cocoa value chain.    

What do you hope to get out of Touton’s carbon assessment and forthcoming strategy?

Joseph LARROSE:  First of all, I hope for a grounded and credible strategy that addresses all aspects of our footprint: from the easy to the challenging ones, from the short to the long-term efforts. For example, even though emissions generated by our scopes 1 and 2 are comparatively low in volumes, quick win solutions - such as office insulations or factory efficiency measures - will have to be part of our top priorities if we want to build a coherent and dependable mitigation project.

Secondly, as an integrated economic actor, it is Touton’s responsibility to play its part in the fight against climate change. By doing so, we are not only contributing to the collective global effort but also supporting the millions of farmers and partners that are already facing the consequences of climate change in their harvest and in their lives. This is about nurturing the sustainable trust relationship we built with smallholders and clients, transforming our supply chains to make them more resilient.   

Resilience also emerges from those producing countries where local entrepreneurs are offering innovative technologies, services and building new ecosystems out of the climate fight. This is about believing and investing in the ecosystems of tomorrow, that will protect and project our supply chains and our business towards climate-responsible ways.

New research method to improve child labor measurement

REALITY CHECK BASED INNOVATION

A new socio-economic study by Marine Jouvin, Ph.D. candidate at Bordeaux University and Policy Impact Assessment Researcher at Touton, shows that the prevalence of child labor within cocoa supply chains is likely to be underestimated, due to a concept called social desirability bias. It proposes a new type of indirect survey methodology to address this issue and help the private sector, governments, and development partners develop more efficient problem-solving measures and policies. Read more about the testing of the list experiment method in Ivory Coast to gain a better sense of how the author and Touton Teams are adopting new ways of surveying for more impactful child labor remediation activities.

RESEARCH

The study centers on 4 458 of UTZ (88%) and Rainforest Alliance (12%) certified cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast, a country that saw an increasing number of children working on cocoa farms between 2013 and 2019 to reach an estimated 790.0000[1], despite detection and remediation efforts from private and public actors. The research, led between December 2019 and March 2020, shows that this number is likely being underestimated, due to a concept called social desirability bias, which occurs when people are reluctant to provide completely truthful answers about sensitive topics out of fear of negative consequences.

Cocoa farmers may lie about their reliance on child labor either because of the growing social stigma associated with using child laborers or because hazardous child labor is prohibited by both national legislation and cocoa certification schemes. Fear of legal, social, or economic repercussions is likely leading farmers to underreport their use of child labor, making it harder to accurately measure the scope of the problem and to enact effective policies to fight it.

MAIN FINDINGSInfographie Child labour Marine Jouvin Final

The author tests a new survey method called “the list experiment”, by asking respondents about sensitive topics in a more indirect manner than standard surveys and finds that:

  • The prevalence of hazardous child labor estimated is twice as large as the one from direct questioning.
  • Between 21% and 25% of the surveyed cocoa farmers relied on child labor during the previous 12 months with a variation on the type of work involved. This suggests that at least half of Ivorian cocoa farmers who use child labour on their certified farms are not willing to admit it.

The main drivers leading certified cocoa farmers to still rely on child labor also better emerge from indirect qQuestioning and provide pointers for more effective remediation. The main reasons include:

  • Failures in labor markets and road infrastructure: due to a scarcity of local adult labor at key moments of the cocoa production cycle, farmers rely on children to help.
  • Lack of school infrastructure: due to children being “available” and cocoa providing the only way forward for subsistence, children are expected to work on the farm and learn how to grow cocoa.
  • The difficulty for monitoring farm activities in remote areas: the remoteness of cocoa farms makes it difficult for certification bodies to properly monitor them. Challenges associated with ban enforcement may make it less effective, as cocoa farmers may not fear sanctions or perceive them as low risk.

Key figures Child labour Marine Jouvin MicrosoftTeams image 1

IMPLICATIONS

To improve detection and remediation of child labor, stakeholders in the supply chain should consider:

  • The social desirability bias when measuring the prevalence of child labor and adopting the use of indirect elicitation methods for a more accurate understanding
  • Poverty and lack of infrastructures, such as roads and schools, are determinants in child labor prevalence and should be addressed by public policies and remediation strategies
  • Revising certification bodies’ approach to strengthen capacity in assessing child labor prevalence
 Interested to learn more about adopting a new method to gain another perspective
on child labor in your value chain?
Read the full article by clicking here - Contact Marine Jouvin
Need more information about Touton’s surveying methods
and child labor remediation plans?
Contact Audrey Lagauche, Cocoa group sustainability manager, Touton

 

Madagascar: du riz pour une chaîne de valeur vanille durable

Les conditions climatiques et économiques complexes auxquelles font face les producteurs de Vanille de la region SAVA à Madagascar depuis plusieurs mois, rendent très difficiles l’accès à la nourriture et aux produits de première nécessité. Touton s’associe avec son partenaire et fournisseur local, NaturaVanilla, pour soutenir les 300 producteurs de la coopérative Madasoa et avancer dans la consolidation d’un partenariat solidaire, équitable et durable...

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Reaping the benefits of agroforestry today & for the future

Loss of tropical rainforests is a major issue in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s supply of cocoa. Touton has just published its second Ghana progress report for the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, a public private partnership that coordinates efforts towards building a more sustainable and climate resilient cocoa supply chain...

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Supporting Honduran organic coffee partners for speedy recovery after hurricanes hit hard

Standing in solidarity with coffee planting communities in Honduras, Touton responded positively to the donation appeal launched by COAGRICSAL, Honduran coffee, cocoa, and pepper cooperative. Our financial donation is supporting our partner’s efforts on the ground to quickly relieve thousands of farmers from the devastating combined effect of Hurricanes Iota, Eta and COVID 19....

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Launch of a project to tackle climate change impact in Ghana

Yesterday, 19 October, Touton and a consortium of partners signed an MoU to launch the Partnership for Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes (PPRCL). The signing event took place in Accra, Ghana during the 2nd National REDD+ Forum organised by the Ghana Forestry Commission. The event featured a keynote speech from the  President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.who applauded the launch of the new Partnership led by Touton.

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Touton's First Sustainable Sourcing Report

Touton is proud to share its 2015/2016 Sustainable Sourcing Report.
The report includes a description of our group’s holistic approach to sustainability as well as an overview of our projects on the ground. We take this opportunity to thank all our partners and customers for their support in our endeavors to improve sustainability in our supply chains.

 Download Our Report

Providing clove seedlings in Madagascar

As part of the Vokatra Mevan'i* programme, Touton Ingredients has just financed and will nurture 2000 clove seedlings in the Eastern part of Madagascar. Once ready, the plants will be distributed to farmers in the area of Ambodimanga who will then benefit from the expert advice of the CTHT (Technical Horticultural Centre of Tamatave) for a period of 3 years. Touton is committed to this partnership as it believes that the success of such a programme is the result of shared effort, shared knowledge and shared resources.

*Touton Good Products

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Climate Smart Cocoa

On 19 October Touton SA signed an MoU with the Ghana Forestry Commission detailing how the French company’s new project on climate smart cocoa supports and complements the Forestry Commission’s objectives in the implementation of the Ghana Cocoa Forest Redd+ Programme (GCFRP).

This new agreement builds on the MoU signed between the Ghana Cocoa Board & Touton SA at the end of 2014 outlining how both parties aimed to work together towards the development of a robust climate smart cocoa approach.

Learn more about this partnership :
http://fcghana.org/news.php?news=94

Newly RA certified Touton Uganda coffee supply chain

Touton Uganda, one of the country’s leading green coffee exporters, has become the first in all of East and Southern Africa to earn the Rainforest Alliance certification against their new 2020 standard. In this article, we explore the motivation and certification journey behind this milestone achievement toward building a sustainable supply chain in Kasese.

Kasese sustainability lab

20210113_UG_COFFEE_Kasese_new_RA_certification_picture_with_certificate.docx.jpgSince 2015, We have been growing our activity to become a key player in Uganda. Now the 4th largest coffee exporter in the country, we keep expanding and diversifying our offer with other crops, turning Touton Uganda into a regional platform for East African multicommodity trading. Touton Uganda has established its direct sourcing and sustainability hub upcountry in Kasese, with the objective to build a sustainable and resilient direct supply chain for coffee, cocoa, vanilla, and more. 

Certification as a key building block for farmers' livelihood

Obtaining this certification is one of the essential building blocks we are setting up to boost the economic resilience of coffee-producing communities. Coffee production and local farmers’ livelihood in Kasese are increasingly affected by various factors, ranging from low productivity to post-harvest losses or climate change-induced droughts and rainfalls. Touton has decided to support the development of a Rainforest Alliance (RA) certified natural arabica coffee (Drugar) supply chain of over 5000 farmers in the region.

Certification is one of the founding elements to build a viable virtuous supply chain. Farmers can improve their revenues by producing and selling quality traceable and certified coffee that is increasingly attractive to international clients, which in turn generates a sustainability differential. Furthermore, the new RA standard not only reinforces traceability requirements against deforestation, but it also pushes further the protection of nature and biodiversity. Our training programs already support coffee farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices, including techniques based on regenerative agriculture, to lead toward a more stable supply of sustainable coffee.

This first year, we have focused on the initial target to certify coffee producers. The next audit will allow us to expand from our acquired RA expertise to certify other Kasese grown crops including cocoa, bird’s eye chili, and vanilla. Investigating crop diversification strategies is another major aspect of Touton’s plan to improve growing families’ livelihood. Our activities also focus on creating opportunities for youth and employment through agri-preneur models. These young entrepreneurs are trained to deliver agricultural services such as a technical extension or professional farm maintenance (pruning, fertilisers, etc.).

A grounded, collaborative, and digitalised certification journey

coffee_farmers_in_the_field.jpg The complete certification journey, from the registration with the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform to the certification license stage, lasted around 8 months. The process represented a steep, yet productive and positive learning curve, as we embarked on the new RA standard requirements whilst welcoming our new sustainability leads in Kasese. It was the combination of three factors that made it a success: a truly collaborative approach, the effective understanding and management of the local supply reality, and the application of new technology.

Our collaborative approach gathered everyone’s expertise and best efforts to translate the new certification requirements into actionable items that made the audit successful, despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. All stakeholders played a key part, starting from the engagement of no less than 110 producing organisations and 3200 farmers to audit their farming activities, to the great support provided by the online weekly training of the RA Uganda team. We should also note the central role of facilities’ sub-contractors, such as dry mills, that quickly became convening centers to raise awareness amongst farming communities about the registration process and the value of selling sustainable coffee. The cross-learning relationship established with the certification body, also made the process smoother and more effective.

On Touton’s side, we combined the diverse skillsets of agronomists and zone officers with the knowledge of over 60 data experts. On one hand, we demonstrated our capacity to coalesce the Kasese supply chain and lead the collective efforts, by engaging stakeholders and building capacity, for example with training material like facilitators’ guides and passbooks for farmers. On the other hand, we leveraged our data science and digital expertise, developing new dedicated applications to swiftly meet the new standard requirements in terms of farmer registration, points of mapping, polygons, and traceability.

We are proud of this first achievement and confident that this is only the beginning of the journey! The potential to build larger and more diverse sustainable value chains, not only for coffee but also for cocoa, vanilla, and other spices in the region is vast. We intend to use the collective know-how we have acquired through this new process to turn Kasese into a virtuous and resilient farming hub in Uganda.

Data model to spot covid negative effects awarded by the UN

Un youth hackathon logoThe strength and the length of the Covid pandemic are adding an extra level of socio-economic pressure on vulnerable populations, including coffee or cocoa farming households in certain African regions. Loss of income, struggle to secure food, or children having to drop school to support their families, are some of the negative consequences brought by the health crises, hindering our collective capacity to address the United Nations Sustainable Develop Goals (SDGs). 

 To tackle this growing challenge, a team of young data-science experts from Morocco, France, and Cote d‘Ivoire,  decided to voluntarily join the Hackathon launched by the United Nations MGCY, the official group of Children &  Youth to foster youth participation towards the achievement of United Nations processes.

UN_youth_hackathon-_winnersJPG.jpg The innovation competition took place over 3 days, in December 2021, and required the 70+ teams engaged in the race to build a public decision support tool, based on open-source big data and data science, to inform development agencies and governments in their decision making to effectively deal with "The impact of COVID on the SDGs".

The independent team formed by Oumaïma Boukamel, (Monitoring & Evaluation Manager), Marine Jouvin (Development Economics Ph.D. Candidate), and Jean-Philippe Kouadio (Data Scientist), who are also part of Touton‘s sustainability team, decided to focus its model on “Understanding household’s vulnerability to COVID’s consequences in Uganda”. Leveraging on their capacity to access concrete data on the tropical commodities supply chain in Uganda where Touton is based, the team has developed a comprehensive model based on machine learning that was awarded the first prize of the UN MGCY Hackathon.

Their smart machine was “trained” using data collected from the World Bank and the Uganda Bureau of statistics on the same 2225 households. With a set of variables used as « predictors » (LSMS variables) and a set of variables used as « predictions » (COVID data), the team built a model to predict the vulnerability of any household regarding food security poverty) and education (SDG 4- education). The aim is to help organizations implementing projects in the field to improve their targeting. Touton’s data was used as an application dataset for the model to generate the final visualization dashboard. The predictive model incorporated the socio-economic data collected from 304 coffee farmers in Uganda, to visually generate maps and charts to highlight those households that are most at risk. UN Youth Hackathon database SGDs

The award ceremony took place on 25th January 2022 in Dubai during the “Mobilizing Big Data & Data Science for SDGs” event organized by UN Big DATA in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates authorities. The UAE Minister of State for Youth handed over the price to the winners before they were able to join in a follow-up workshop on data capacity building in regional National Statistic Offices.

As a leading supply chain manager for tropical agricultural commodities, Touton’s approach to sustainability is anchored in the reality of the supply chain. To produce impact, it must be informed by strong data evidence. The group has invested in technology, but most importantly in younger talents with data and academic sciences expertise, to build that capacity towards making value chains more sustainable.

The winning team is now planning to further enhance the model, refining its accuracy, and replicating it to also assess child labor and deforestation risks. They will develop further the interactive portal and dashboard to improve the targeting of Touton’s sustainability programs in coffee supply chains and continue working towards the United Nations SDGs.

 

 

Coffee & vanilla for regenerative agriculture in Kasese (UG)

Touton is proud to co-invest with IDH and IKEA foundation for the Coffee Farmer Income Resilience Program in Uganda. Leveraging on our multicrop know-how and extensive trading capacities, Touton will engage 5000 smallholder coffee farmers - who also grow cocoa, vanilla, and birds ‘eye chilies - to foster diversification for income resilience and transition their farm systems towards regenerative agriculture.

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New research to boost Ugandan coffee farmers’ resilience

Data collection is on! Since March 2021, data collection from Ugandan coffee producers is on-going in the Rwenzori. Our team of young enumerators from the coffee communities are now interviewing farmers with both quantitative and qualitative surveys about their current farming practices and revenues. Producers are positive and enthusiastic about the initiative and keen to benefit from the results to boost income diversification strategies. This new research partnership is still in the early early stages...

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Touton proud to be part of new SAT4Farming project!

 Digital and Satellite Technology Program Launches to Support Ghana’s Smallholder Cocoa Farmers 

July 10th, ACCRA, GHANA – SAT4Farming, an initiative to reach thousands of small-scale cocoa producers with information and services to improve their productivity and sustainability, was announced today. It is designed to use digital technology and satellite imagery to create individual Farm Development Plans (FDPs) that guide farmers over a seven-year period. 

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Sustainable Vanilla Initiative

Touton was one of the first companies to join the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative that was set up in 2016 by IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative).

The SVI brings together multinational companies and NGOs that are involved at different levels in the vanilla supply chain in a public-private partnership, The aim is to encourage sustainable practices that in turn, will contribute to ensuring future supply as well as stimulating economic growth in vanilla producing countries.

Learn more about the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative:
https://www.idhsustainabletrade.com/initiative/sustainable-vanilla-initiative