Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Ethical Chocolate Gets a Boost With Cocoa-Trading Giant Tracing Origins

  • Trader can track the supply chain of 60% of the cocoa it buys
  • Other 40% only possible with government action: Manley
Steam rises from hot chocolate in a pot at the Choco Story Uxmal Museum in Santa Elena, Yucatan state, Mexico.

Steam rises from hot chocolate in a pot at the Choco Story Uxmal Museum in Santa Elena, Yucatan state, Mexico.

Photographer: Mauricio Palos/Bloomberg

Cocoa giant Olam International Ltd. can now trace the supply of the majority of the beans it buys, stepping up sustainability efforts as customers and governments increasingly want to know where food comes from and whether it was ethically produced.

The world’s third-largest cocoa processor is able to track all the cocoa in its direct supply chain in nine countries back to an individual farm, community, or the first point of purchase, where a farmer or cooperative is paid, said Gerry Manley, head of Olam’s cocoa unit. That’s about 60% of the beans the Singapore-based trader purchases, or 12% of the world’s cocoa.