Driving Sustainability in the Vanilla Supply Chain

Dec. 8, 2016
Sustainable Vanilla Initiative formed to improve farmers’ livelihoods and assure a stable supply of vanilla.

Various players in the vanilla supply chain have come together to form the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI), aiming to improve vanilla bean farmers’ livelihoods and assure the long-term stable supply of high quality natural vanilla.

This voluntary program of food, flavor and fragrance businesses connects with vanilla exporters, producers, sector organizations and public authorities worldwide to address issues of governance, traceability, labor rights and technical assistance to growers.

In recent years, the vanilla bean market has faced challenges of falling quality, price volatility and insufficient product traceability. SVI hopes to bring innovative solutions to these market challenges through a comprehensive strategy addressing social, environmental and economic issues inherent to vanilla’s complex supply chain in producing countries.

SVI members are Authentic Products, Barry Callebaut, Costco, DeMonchy Natural Products, Firmenich, Frontier Co-op, General Mills, Givaudan, Mane, Mars, McCormick, Nestle, Nielsen Massey, Prova, Rodelle, Silver Spoon, Symrise, Touton, Unilever and Virginia Dare.

Collectively, they represent more than 70 percent of worldwide vanilla bean purchases and have initially focused their efforts on collaboration with Madagascar, which currently represents more than 80 percent of world supply.

The initiative actually was launched in 2015 but reached critical mass this year. SVI contributed to the development of a Code of Conduct for Malagasy vanilla market participants, which was signed by Madagascar’s prime minister and more than 40 vanilla exporters. They also staged a conference in Paris this past April, which brought together many of the constituencies.

SVI is hosted by IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative (www.idhsustainabletrade.com) and the Sustainable Food Lab (www.sustainablefoodlab.org).

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