Bombay Sapphire set to meet sustainably sourced ingredients target four years early

Gin brand Bombay Sapphire has announced that it is on track to certify all of its key ingredients as sustainable by the end of 2021. It had originally been striving to achieve this milestone in 2025.

Image: Bombay Sapphire 

Image: Bombay Sapphire 

The brand, owned by Bacardi Limited, set the target to cover the ten key botanicals used to make its namesake gin, including juniper, coriander, lemon peel and liquorice.

It is working with organic farming certification organisation EcoCert to certify the farms in its supply chains for these ingredients, which are multinational. Following certification of all but two producers to date, Bombay Sapphire expects the remaining producers to achieve certification this year. It said in a statement that certification would have likely come sooner if there were no international travel restrictions.

The last two producers requiring EcoCert visits are firms producing liquorice in China and grains of paradise in Ghana. The certification process requires suppliers to meet targets on environmental issues such as water stewardship and social issues including worker training opportunities.

Aside from certifying through third parties, Bombay Sapphire has delivered several on-the-ground projects in the communities from which it sources. In Ghana, for example, it has worked with NGO AIESEC to improve water infrastructure and education.

The brand’s master of botanicals Ivano Tonutti said it takes a “360-degree approach to sustainability”.

He added: ” It’s our responsibility to care as much about the farmers and their communities as we do the botanicals they grow and harvest for Bombay Sapphire. By looking after their well-being and investing in sustainable farming practices, we are helping to protect the environment and their livelihoods for generations to come.”

The announcement from the brand comes after its base – Laverstoke Mill in Whitchurch – received BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification. The facility features built-in features including rainwater harvesting systems and flow-restricted water devices, a biomass boiler, solar panels and a hydro-electric turbine in the River Test.

Sustainably sourced cocoa

In related news, Ferrero has confirmed it achieved its 2020 target to reach 100% sustainably certified cocoa.

Set in 2011, the target committed Ferrero to ensure that all cocoa beans in the direct supply chain were sourced from farms that met independently managed standards on farmers living and working conditions and on environmental performance. It was broadened in 2019 to include third-party chocolate suppliers.

Certification standards used by Ferrero include Rainforest Alliance (UTZ), Fairtrade and Cocoa Horizons.

After meeting the 100% target, with 95% of cocoa beans traceable back to farms and 5% from third parties, Ferrero has said it will update its approach to tackling the cocoa supply chain’s most pressing issues, including child labour, gender equality and climate change.

On the former, Ferrero has expanded its partnership with Save the Children. Originally designed as a three-year partnership with a presence in 20 communities across the Ivory Coast, the partnership will now cover 65 communities in the Ivorian Haut-Sassandra region where Ferrero sources a significant amount of cocoa.

The partnership provides education about nutrition, human rights, sustainable farming and other key topics. It also implements child protection systems on the ground and provides financing to community development initiatives. Separately, Ferrero offers Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems directly to its farmer groups.

“We continue to address the crucial human rights issues around our supply chains and to strengthen our due diligence,” Ferrero’s chief procurement and hazelnut company officer Marco Gonclaves said.

However, child labour in cocoa-growing communities remains a significant issue, and we’re determined to go further to meet the challenge. That is why I am so pleased that we are extending our partnership with Save the Children with a particular focus on prevention to grow our impact on this issue. That way we can help drive meaningful long-term change, not only in our direct supply chain but also beyond.”

Organisations including Unicef and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have conducted major studies on human rights protections across the global cocoa supply chains. Findings have generally been damning, revealing that thousands of minors are likely working illegally and that adult workers are also not having their rights upheld on many plantations.

One of the most recent pieces of major research in this space comes from the US Government. Published last summer, the report revealed that cases of child labour in the supply chain have increased by 2% since 2014 to more than two million children, despite industry commitments to tackle the issue.

The Ivory Coast specifically produces about 45% of the cocoa sold globally each year.

Sarah George



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