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2_0_DiscoverGermany_Issue34_January2016:Scan Magazine 1

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Special Theme

The taste of Germany

Made out of responsibility for the environment Most consumers know the colourful, distinctively square-shaped chocolate bars made by Ritter Sport. And many people also know that Ritter Sport has been producing a great variety of the finest German chocolate creations since 1912. But there is more to this family business: Ritter Sport emphasises sustainability and seeks to fundamentally improve the living conditions of Central American farmers. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF I PHOTOS: RITTER SPORT

“As a family business, we act sustainably per se. All decisions that we make consider the impact on future generations,” says Alfred T. Ritter, owner and advisory board chairman of Ritter Sport. As the most important resource for the chocolate producer is cocoa, it poses as an important focal point in the company’s sustainability management. For 25 years, the company has actively fostered cocoa farming in Nicaragua with its project ‘Cacaonica’. What started off with 170 farmers in a single cooperative quickly grew into a collaboration with over 3,500 cocoa farmers in around 20 cooperatives. Ritter Sport additionally brought its own cultivation area ‘El Cacao’ to life. Since 1990,‘Cacaonica’has been committed to improving the social and environ-

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mentally sustainable conditions in the cocoa farming industry. “With the help of local partners, farmers were taught to cultivate cacao through agroforestry principles. This paid off: the cocoa is of highest quality,”explains Hajo Brand, who supervises ‘Cacaonica’ as purchasing manager. The modern agroforestry-system is known to foster biodiversity and thus protect endangered rainforests, to stabilise the water balance, to protect from soil erosion, to foster energy efficiency and to prevent climate damaging emissions. For Ritter Sport the project is a win-win situation. The company receives high-quality cocoa, while the agroforestry cocoa production on their plantation reduces their carbon footprint. Nicaragua profits as well: cocoa production is an important

source of income for farmers, their social and living conditions are improved and the agroforestry system protects the environment. While around 300 local employees work on Ritter Sport’s own plantation, the company ensures medical treatment, high safety standards and, of course, fair wages. Today, Ritter Sport buys 600 to 1,000 tonnes of cocoa beans from the cooperatives annually. “We need around 12,000 tonnes of cocoa mass per year. Our goal is to cover 5,000 tonnes with sustainably produced cocoa from Nicaragua and with our own cultivation area ‘El Cacao’ until 2023,” adds Brand. Until 2025, the cocoa for all Ritter Sport chocolate products are to come from sustainable cultivation. www.ritter-sport.de/en

Main image: Ritter Sport Above, from top: Ritter Sport’s own cultivation area ‘El Cacao’. A drying station.